Acupuncture and Sciatica

Acupuncture and Sciatica

Acupuncture and Sciatica

Sciatica is pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, the pain usually affects the buttock and thigh, but sometimes extends down to the leg and foot in severe cases, the pain may be accompanied by numbness or weakness in the affected area. The pain can be excruciating to a point that a person cannot move.

The most common cause of sciatica is prolapse intervertebral disc pressing on the spinal root of the nerve. Also can be caused by local muscle spasm in the lumbar area or simply sitting in an awkward position or for long periods, or from twisted or repetitive movements. Less commonly it may be caused by a tumour abscess or blood clot or a disorder that involves nerves eg diabetes or even a problem with your intestines radiating pan to your back.

The underlying cause is the focus of the treatment for sciatic pain, which is as above coming from the sciatic nerve being compressed, usually in Lumber and Sacral vertebra.

 Traditional Five Element Acupuncture can help relieve back pain and sciatica by:

  • stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord
  • reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors
  • improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing local microcirculation which aids dispersal of swelling.
  • causing a transient change in sciatic nerve blood flow, including circulation to the cauda equine and nerve root. This response is eliminated or attenuated by administration of atropine, indicating that it occurs mainly via cholinergic nerves
  • influencing the neurotrophic factor signaling system, which is important in neuropathic pain
  • increasing levels of serotonin and noradrenaline, which can help reduce pain and speed nerve repair
  • improving the conductive parameters of the sciatic nerve
  • promoting regeneration of the sciatic nerve

In my practice, I treat many patients with sciatic pain from many different causes, from serve pain where the patient can barely move or dull dragging pain, at an acute or chronic state. I do advise when a patient has a chronic back problem and sciatica that they have regular acupuncture, therefore not letting the inflammation reoccur – this has been very successful in many of my patients – stopping them going into crisis stages with their back – prevent and protect.

The causes can be on the levels of body mind and spirit – stress in life can cause muscle spasm and terrible pain – I have seen it often.

I also encourage my patients to have investigations to determine the cause of their sciatic pain to assess either bone, muscle or anything more serious that needs addressing.

I encourage you to come and have treatment as soon as you can as possible rest and painkillers are not always the answer. Traditional Five Element Acupuncture can really help;- contact Hannah on

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