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Getting to Know Sciatic Nerve Pain and Some Natural Remedies for It

The Kashmir Monitor





It is said that there are up to 100 billion nerves in the human body. The sciatic nerve is the one with the biggest diameter of them all. This major nerve extends from the lower end of your spinal cord, going down to the buttock and the back of the thigh. The sciatic nerve branches into two just before it reaches the knee joint.

The sciatic nerve may be pinched or irritated, resulting in what’s known as sciatica. This medical condition usually stems from pressure on the nerve roots in the lower back. But because those nerve roots course through the sciatic nerve, the pain is also felt down the buttock and thigh. There are times when it is felt in the foot and toes as well, depending on which part of the sciatic nerve is affected.

Causes of Sciatica


Any condition which causes the pinching or irritation of the nerve roots found in the lower portion of the spinal cord can bring about sciatica. One of the primary causes of this condition is lumbar herniated disc. Sciatica caused by this problem occurs when the soft cushioning between the bones of the spine (vertebrae) slides out of place and irritates the adjacent nerve roots. Lumbar herniated disc is also referred to as slipped disc, ruptured disc or bulging disc.

Other causes of sciatica include degenerative disc disease (breaking down of the vertebral disc brought about by aging), isthmic spondylolisthesis (a small stress fracture which causes the vertebral body to slip forward), lumbar spinal stenosis (tightening of the spinal canal found in the lower back) and piriformis syndrome (irritation of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle found in each of your buttocks). Sometimes, pregnancy may also cause sciatica.

Common Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica usually affects one side of the lower body only. The pain generally extends from the lower back down to the buttock and leg where the affected sciatic nerve is located. The severity of the pain depends from person to person and from condition to condition. Some people may be afflicted with severe and debilitating sciatica pain, while others may be bugged by pain that’s infrequent yet irritating.

Individuals suffering from sciatica report of burning or tingling sensation going down the affected leg. There is also weakness and numbness of the area, oftentimes making it difficult to mobilize the leg or foot. According to sufferers, the pain felt is worse when sitting down.

Medical Treatments for Sciatica

Painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants are the most commonly prescribed or administered treatment for sciatica by specialists. Antidepressants are also prescribed by some doctors as these drugs are effective in reducing the brain’s perception of pain.

Individuals whose sciatica pain does not respond to the above treatments for a month may be injected with steroid into the lower back, right next to the sciatic nerve.

The injection is guided by an x-ray. Surgery may also be recommended especially for sufferers who are bugged by unremitting symptoms of sciatica for 4 to 6 weeks.

Sciatica Natural Remedies

The following are some of the most effective all-natural ways to deal with sciatica:

Ice or heat application. It’s true that ice or heat applied on the skin’s surface may not be able to reach the affected sciatic nerve buried deep under the buttock and thigh muscles. However, the sensation it provides may help in bringing down the pain level.

Warming acupuncture which involves heating of the needles is particularly good for sciatica pain. It’s even possible to see improvement during the initial session, although it usually takes about 12 sessions for significant relief to be attained.

Chiropractic care. According to a study, as much as 60% of sciatica sufferers who didn’t obtain any favorable result from other forms of therapies and tried spinal manipulation were able to enjoy the same degree of pain relief as those who underwent surgery.

Sciatica sufferers may benefit from undergoing a gentle form of yoga as it helps in strengthening the lower back muscles as well as improving one’s flexibility. A study had revealed that those with chronic back pain saw as much as 64% reduction in pain after undergoing yoga for 16 weeks.

Especially if the problem is caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle, getting a massage may prove to be beneficial. However, trigger-point therapy is the kind of massage that can provide favorable results, and not the kind offered at day spas or massage parlors.

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Hepatitis A Causes and Symptoms

The Kashmir Monitor



Generally speaking, hepatitis A is more common in parts of the planet that are developing. It’s for the fact that sanitation and food handling practices are by and large poor. However, medical experts say that living in developed countries can also put you at risk of having hepatitis A, but it’s really a rare occurrence.

Just like what’s mentioned earlier, hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus or HAV. It can be spread around by someone who has hepatitis A because he or she is a carrier of the virus behind it. It is said that a person with hepatitis A is most infectious about 2 weeks before he or she begins to experience signs and symptoms.

Here are some of the ways that hepatitis A is spread around:


Consumption of food that is prepared by a person who has hepatitis A. This is most especially true if he or she has not properly washed his or her hands.

Drinking of water that is contaminated with the hepatitis A virus.

Intake of raw or undercooked seafood obtained from contaminated water.

Close contact with someone who has hepatitis A. This includes having sexual intercourse with an infected person, especially when the rectal or anal area has been touched with the fingers, mouth or tongue.

Using illegal drugs, especially when paraphernalia contaminated with the hepatitis A virus are used.


Medical experts say that it may take a while before the various signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A show up. They say that someone may experience them about 4 weeks after getting infected. It’s even possible for someone with hepatitis A to not experience any sign and symptom at all.

Some of the initial signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include:

Tiredness and malaise
Achy muscles and joints
Pain in the upper right section of the abdomen
Loss of appetite
Mild fever
Sore throat
Diarrhea or constipation
Hives or raised rash that’s itchy

These initial signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A can last anywhere from a few days only to a couple of weeks. Afterwards, as the infection of the liver progresses, the following may be experienced by the individual:

Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin as well as the whites of the eyes (sclera)

Pale colored stools
Dark colored urine
Skin itching

Tenderness and swelling of the upper right section of the abdomen

Although it rarely happens, hepatitis A can cause liver failure. When such develops, the person who is infected may experience severe vomiting, frequent bruising, bleeding of the nose and gums, drowsiness and confusion.

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Busting myths around blood donation

The Kashmir Monitor



As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

Contrary to the myth about blood donations making a person weak or anaemic, the body replenishes the lost blood in a matter of a few days, say experts.

“A healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets, so there is no question of becoming weak, much less anaemic. It is a myth and should not deter people from donating blood,” says Dr RK Singal, chairman, internal medicine department, BLK super-speciality Hospital.


The donors can give either whole blood or specific blood components, as there is sophisticated equipment available these days that extract relevant components from blood and the rest of the blood can be transfused back to the donor.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

About 65% of India’s population is young and if this section donates blood regularly, chances of the country facing blood shortage will be remote. Hence, there is all the more reason for people, especially youngsters, to come forward and be regular blood donors.

How to prepare

Have enough fruit juice and water in the night and morning before you donate

Have a full meal 3 hours before donation; never on an empty stomach

Have some rest for about 10-15 minutes after donation

Have some snacks or a juice with high sugar content after donation

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Erectile dysfunction’s connection with lifestyle

The Kashmir Monitor



By Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal

healthy-lifestyle-can-reverse-effects-of-hypertensionAll over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED).

All over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED). From my research, I have found a strong link between ED and stress. Other major causes include smoking, drinking, diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. My advice to these patients is — do not get even more stressed over this situation. Instead, focus on taking the right medication and making some changes to your lifestyle, so you can once again enjoy a satisfactory sexual life.



We normally diagnose ED and its underlying causes by asking the patient a few questions about his medical and sexual history. This is sometimes done by sharing a questionnaire with the patient. The questions that we ask are designed to help us understand the cause of ED in the particular patient.

We also do a physical exam, ask for certain blood tests to rule out other medical conditions responsible for erectile dysfunction, and recommend imaging tests (if required) to determine whether the person is physically able to have an erection or not.


Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol levels) can cause ED. In these cases, ED can be reversed once the patient starts treatment.

In my experience, many men suffer from ED because of work stress, family pressure and anxiety. So, changes in lifestyle with regular exercise, yoga, abstaining from alcohol and smoking, and proper counselling help in treating ED. Along with this, medicines for ED are usually prescribed for about 3 to 6 months by which time lifestyle changes start to take effect and the patient is physically and mentally healthier, which helps resolve the problem.

An estimated 16% to 25% of men experience ED at some point in their lives. I would urge them not to be embarrassed about it. Seek medical help from a urologist or andrologist; get the necessary advice/medication; and go on to enjoy a healthy, fulfilling sexual life.

The author of this article is Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal, head, andrology, department of urology sciences, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket

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