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Pain in the Butt? How Acupuncture Relieves Sciatica

Anyone who lives with sciatic pain will tell you what a “pain in the butt” it can be. This is an ailment that often affects people later in life but can also be encountered by younger individuals.

At Garrow Wellness Center, we have seen an increase in patients presenting with this ailment. People will often seek acupuncture treatment for sciatica after exhausting other methods, while trying to avoid surgery. Currently, large portions of the population are unaware that Traditional Chinese Medicine can provide substantial relief to those suffering with this pain.

What Causes Sciatica?

Multiple different spinal conditions can cause sciatic pain. In each of these conditions, the nerve roots originating in the lumbar spine become compressed and irritated.

acupuncture needles

This causes pain in the large sciatic nerve, which forms from the lumbar nerve roots and runs from the buttock to the back of the leg, and then emanates to a number of other nerve branches in the calf.

The most common cause of sciatica is a lumbar disc herniation, in which a spinal disc tears and its internal fluid leaks out onto the nearby nerve root. About 90% of all sciatica cases result from lumbar disc herniations.

Other potential causes of sciatic pain include:

  • Lumbar spinal stenosis: a narrowing of the spinal canal due to degenerated discs or spinal arthritis.
  • Spondylolisthesis: a fracture in one part of the vertebra which causes forward movement.
  • Pregnancy: increased pressure on all structures in the lumbar spine.

Sciatic pain may also arise due to piriformis syndrome. In most individuals, the sciatic nerve travels either above or below the piriformis muscle. If the piriformis muscle tightens and spasms, it can directly press on the sciatic nerve, leading to the buttock and leg pain associated with sciatica.

Can Acupuncture Treat Sciatica?

Acupuncture, which is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, can effectively, naturally and holistically provide relief to those who are suffering with sciatic pain. It is important for the public to be aware that acupuncture is a viable treatment option. It should be considered and used at the very onset of sciatic pain, as it can help to remedy this ailment before it negatively impacts one’s quality of life.

Acupuncture for Sciatica

A research study in the BMJ journal suggests that spinal manipulation and acupuncture are non-opioid medications or treatments that have shown promising results. In China, sciatica is a primary cause of hospitalization, and acupuncture is commonly used for managing this neuralgia pain.

Traditional Chinese medicine states that the body has more than 2000 points where you can insert thin needles. They are connected by pathways or meridians that create a flow of energy called Qi.

It is the stimulation of these points that corrects qi’s imbalance and improves the flow of energy. The goal is to relieve pain and improve health. Effect of acupuncture is said to stimulate the central nervous system, triggering chemicals released into the muscles, brain, and spinal cord.

Benefits of Acupuncture for Sciatica

Acupuncture is intrinsically connected to the nervous system; thus, researches suggest that it may help relieve tension, headaches, and migraines. It helps back pain and sciatica by.

  • Reducing inflammation by promoting the release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors.
  • Stimulating nerves in the body located explicitly in muscles and other tissues, leading to the release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors. It also changes how the brain and spinal cord process pain.
  • Increasing the levels of serotonin and noradrenaline helps to reduce pain and speeds up nerve repair.
  • Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing the local microcirculation helps spread or disperse the swelling you might be facing.
  • Promoting the regeneration of the sciatic nerve.
  • Speeding the relay of electromagnetic signals which begins the flow of pain-killing chemicals.
  • Triggering the release of natural opioids that help with pain and promote sleep.

Continued medical innovation has also yielded several advancements in acupuncture technique, which have improved outcomes. For example, electroacupuncture shows strong promise and has outperformed other forms of electrotherapy, while recent research suggests that needle insertion directly targeting the sciatic nerve can improve on traditional acupuncture.

If you’re in or near Ocean & Monmouth County areas in New Jersey, we recommend that you contact us by phone or via the appointment link on this website to schedule an appointment. There’s no reason to suffer with sciatic pain any longer. Come in for acupuncture today!