10 Oct 2009
Medical Astrology: Sun in Sagittarius Part 2 by Eileen Nauman, DHM, medical astrologer
Sagittarius has ruler ship over one of the largest peripheral nevers in our body: The Sciatic nerve.
Here’s one view of the sciatic nerve. You can see how the pelvis area is involved, as well as the lower third of our spinal column, the sacral and lumbar area
This nerve runs from our lumbar area of our spine all the way down through the heel and into our foot. The roots of this massive nerve (as large as your thumb) occurs in our lumbar and sacral part of our spinal column. The actual vertebrae involved lumbar 4 and 5, sacral 1, 2 and 3. The nerve then branches out either side of the spine, down through the pelvis, through each buttock and then down our legs. The sciatic nerve goes into our heel and lastly, in our foot.
Here’s another view of the sciatic nerve and how it runs off BOTH sides of our spinal column.
This nerve strikes a nerve with many Sagittarian’s and can be an awful and painful problem. From my last blog, there are those Sagittarian’s who may have one leg longer or shorter than the other–and this can cause inflammation in this nerve if the correct orthopedic supports aren’t gotten to level out and stabilize their spine. If you keep getting on-again, off-again sciatic nerve symptoms, go see your podiatrist first.
Like most nerves, if you have in some way irritated the sciatic you may have tingling, numbness or pain–or all the above.
This nerve can become inflammed in many ways. Sometimes it is caused by a herniated or bulging disk in our spinal column. If that is so, then you’re going to feel some pretty sharp and intense pain in the butt or behind your thigh.
Here’s a full view of the sciatica nerve and where it starts and where it goes in our body.
Along the same line, a ruptured disk between the vertebrae in your back can also involve the sciatic nerve. With this you not only get back pain, but muscle spasms along with it.
And, interestingly enough, the pain can come on not through violent exercise, accidents or hard exercise. Rather, just bending over, standing, lifting, sitting or straining can bring it to painful life.
Sciatica also can be a symptom of other conditions that affect the spine. A genetic one is narrowing of the spinal canal and it’s known as spinal stenosis. In later years some people with a Saturn with three or more hard aspects, can have arthritic bone spurs. Sometimes, we can accidentally compress a root of a nerve (known as a pinched nerve) and this is usually a result of a fall or some other kind of injury. In pregnant women, there is a rare condition that can involve this nerve and it has to do with tumor formation.
This illustration shows us many things and will help anyone who has an inflammed sciatic nerve understand what’s going on and why. In some cases, depending upon where the sciatic nerve is pinched, a ‘dropped foot’ may occur.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of sciatica include pain that begins in your back or buttocks and moves down your leg and may move into your foot. Weakness, tingling, or numbness in the leg may also occur. If you sit or stand for a period of time or do a knee-to-chest exercise, this can make these symptoms worse. And if you walk, lie down or perform movement to extend/stretch the spine, that may relieve some or all of your symptoms.
If you have a reduced knee-jerk reflex, this can show sciatic involvement with the Lumbar 4 vertebrae. There can be pain/numbness experienced in the lower leg or foot. There may be weakness and you can’t raise your foot upward (this is referred to as ‘heel walk’).
If you have injury in the lumbar 5th vertebrae, you experience weakens in the extension of your big toe. Or, you can have ‘foot drop.’ There can be pain or numbness experienced in the top of your foot, or especially in the webbing between your big toe and your second toe.
This peripheral nerve can be painful anywhere along the entire ‘highway’ of it from the root in our lower back to down into our foot.
How is sciatica diagnosed?
Some people go to a chiropractor, a physical therapist, an osteopath or another type of medical doctor to find out what’s going on. Whomever you trust will take your symptoms, perform a medical exam and potentially order up an x-ray or two. And if you have insurance, an MRI may be performed.
How is it treated?
In many cases, sciatica will improve and go away with time. Initial treatment usually focuses on medicines and exercises to relieve pain. Massage, working with a physical therapist, acupuncture or chiropractor may all be part of your healing team.
A herniated disc can be the root cause of your sciatic nerve becoming bothersome. Each vertebrae in your spinal column has a cushy and spongy disc between them. They are shock absorbers for the back. If they are pliable, flexible and in good health, your spinal column remains flexible and you won’t have pain. However, when a disc is damaged due to age, a fall or accident, then a disc may bulge or even break open. This is called a herniated disc. I can also rupture or slip between the vertebrae. This condition can happen anywhere along your spinal column. However, most occur in the lower back, the lumbar area, and that is where the sciatic nerve is located.
This is a good illustration of a disc that has slipped toward the nerve root–and inflammation and pain begin.
If you are picking up things the wrong way, this can allow this condition to occur. Lift with your legs, not your back. Bend and squat, then use your legs to push yourself upward. Be sure to do exercise to keep your back muscles strong. Good posture is a must and this (again) goes back to seeing your podiatrist. If your feet are out of alignment, or worse, you have one leg shorter than the other, then you are sitting duck for a herniated disc unless you get orthopedic inserts to get your legs and spine into a healthy alignment.
More about posture. Always roll your shoulders back and down. Your chin should be back and your belly in. Also, do your feet move straight ahead? If the don’t, see a podiatrist.
Regular exercise is a great thing for our back. If you go to a gym or work out two to three times a week, this is so helpful. Plus, doing exercise also helps keep the weight in check, also. People who are overweight are primary targets for a herniated disc. Don’t be one of them.
When a herniated disc presses on the nerve root of the sciatic, it may cause pain/numbness and weakness in the body where that nerve travels. You can experience numbness in your buttock or down part or all of your leg. Sciatica is the most common symptom of a herniated disc scenario.
More importantly, if you experience numbness in BOTH legs,loss of bladder or bowel control, get your doctor immediately. Do not wait. This could potentially be a sign of a rare ailment call the cauda equina syndrome.
Those Sagittarians who suffer from a herniated disc will usually get better in a few weeks or months, depending upon the severity of the disc injury. Only one in ten people have to have actual surgery for a herniated disc, so that’s good news. Things you can do to help yourself recover include:
1. REST if the pain is severe. I know, Sagittarians HATE being still and chair bound; never mind being ‘bed bound.’ And the medical establishment doesn’t support staying in bed over 1 or 2 days because it can severely weaken your muscles and exacerbate your problem. Talk to your doctor about walking or other light activity that may be of help. That will make you a lot happier to be on the move again, Sagittarius tumbleweed 🙂
2. PHYSICAL THERAPIST. This is where a physical therapist excels and I would strongly recommend you talk to one if you have a herniated disc. They can give you simple but healing exercise and movement that will get that disc healed up much sooner.
3. HEATING PAD. A doctor will more than likely suggest you use a heating pad on the area (low or medium setting) or a warm shower for 15 to 20 minutes every two or three hours. And then, ice the area for 5-10 minutes afterward. This heat/ice basically creates fluid movement in the swollen area of the disc. The heat promotes flow and the ice reduces inflammation.
4. HOMEOPATHY is a great support. A remedy like Arnica montana along with Hypericum can sometimes work instead of taking medical drugs. Sometimes, it won’t work, and when it doesn’t then go back to the prescription medicine.
Anything having to do with the hips, butt and thighs are the concern and focus of Sun in Sagittarius. Another lesser problem is paralysis in the lumbar area because of a fall or accident. And let’s face it, Sagittarians ARE accident-prone. Why? Because they don’t look before they leap. As a fire sign, they’re utterly spontaneous. And while I’m all for spontaneity, it does good to look before one leaps.
Next Week: Sun in Capricorn
healthy and complete sciatic nerve
Shows sciatic nerve running off spinal column
Side view of pelvis with muscle and nerve placement
herniated sciatic nerve
Sciatic nerve injury of “dropped foot”
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