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Does Acupuncture Work for Sciatica?

Sciatica is a common condition caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve in the lower back. It causes extreme pain due to degeneration of an intervertebral disc that affects the back, hip, and radiates down the leg. This health condition not only affects the quality of life but also reduces the social and economic efficacy of an individual. Acupuncture is considered one of the most effective, gentle, and natural treatment options for sciatica.  It is believed to relieve acute sciatic nerve pain and can resolve the condition over time with frequent treatment sessions. This article discusses how acupuncture works for sciatica and what to avoid if you suffer from sciatica.

How Acupuncture Works for Sciatica

Pain in the spine, woman with backache at home, injury in the lower back

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that not only works to relieve sciatic nerve pain but also treats the underlying cause of sciatica. Professional acupuncturists target the lower back and sciatic nerve by inserting the needles in specific acupuncture points. The needlework serves to decrease inflammation and increase blood circulation as well as Qi flow along the energy pathways of the body. This helps to ease pressure from the nerve surrounding the lumbar spine segments. Acupuncture is a promising treatment for sciatica because of its effectiveness and broad health benefits to other underlying conditions.

It is a safe, non-surgical treatment option that does not have the side effects of prescription pain medications like muscle relaxers and NSAIDs. Acupuncture helps relieve sciatic nerve pain by improving blood circulation, regulating the nervous system, relaxing tight muscles, and releasing neurotransmitters to ease the pain.

Acupuncture Points for Sciatica

Different acupuncturists use different techniques or protocols based on their educational background and the patient’s medical history or constellation of issues. In most cases, acupuncturists insert these needles along the wrist or forearm area and the ankle or inside the lower calf. This type of needlework is referred to as distal rather than local needling. With distal needling, the insertions take place at a distance or in locations different from the site of pain. These areas are carefully chosen because they have dense nervous tissue. On the other hand, local needling is when the insertions are done closer or directly on the site of pain. It aims at initiating a local immune response that increases the number of white blood cells in the area. Therefore, distal needling is more effective for dealing with nerve pain because sciatica is caused by a compression or irritation of a never in the lower back.

How Does Chinese Medicine View Sciatica?

According to Chinese medicine, the body is interconnected and no single part can be separated from another. Diagnosing and treating a particular health condition in the body requires identification of the specific imbalances in the energy pathways and the entire body. Not only does correcting the imbalance treat the symptoms but also addresses the root cause of the problem by encouraging the body to heal itself. According to professional acupuncturists, the most common imbalance associated with acute sciatica is stagnation of qi and blood circulation in the back channels.

Chinese medicine views sciatica as a group of symptoms that affect the sciatic nerve region. It has several possible causes that may result in different treatments thus the term ‘sciatica’ is used to describe the set of symptoms caused by this health condition. Pressure can cause inflammation on the nerve, leading to malfunction. Patients who have undergone acupuncture treatment feel much better after frequent appointments with their physician.

Why Is Acupuncture Necessary for Sciatica?

Acupuncture can help relieve sciatic nerve pain by stimulating nerves located in the lower back muscles and tissues. This aids in the release of endorphins that alters the way the brain and spinal cord process pain. It also reduces inflammation caused by compression on the sciatic nerve by releasing vascular and immunomodulatory factors. The techniques used in acupuncture aid in the dispersal of swelling around the affected area by improving joint mobility and easing muscle stiffness. The increased levels of noradrenaline and serotonin after acupuncture can help reduce pain and facilitate rapid nerve repair. As a result, it improves the conductive parameters and promotes regeneration of the sciatic nerve.

Acupuncture can help reduce the dosage and side effects of medications prescribed for sciatica. It works on the principle that the body can heal itself after correcting an imbalance that affects the energy pathways of your system. Not only does acupuncture work to relieve sciatic nerve pain but also addresses other underlying health issues that would have worsened in the future.