Sciatica is one of the most common pain conditions that I see in my acupuncture clinic. It can be a truly stubborn condition, and very painful and frustrating to experience.
Sometimes sciatica is a straightforward pain sensation coming from the low back or buttocks and shooting down the back of the leg. It’s not uncommon, though, to also have pain along the outside of the leg or to have radiating numbness or tingling that can travel down both the back and the sides of the leg towards the foot.
In my experience, a combination of acupuncture with either chiropractic care or massage tends to be the most effective way to resolve the condition.
With acupuncture, we strategically place needles throughout the lower back, buttocks, hips, and lower legs to help loosen tight muscles and decrease nerve pain. Because acupuncture needles are so carefully placed, they can target deep and specific sites of muscle tension that may be impinging nerves or circulation.
In addition to acupuncture needles, we may use cupping, gua sha, and moxibustion. With cupping, we create a suction using a glass cup that creates essentially a reverse massage — pulling muscle tissues apart to allow improved circulation through the area and helps any cellular waste products return to circulation. Gua sha is a rubbing technique using a blunt-edged tool to rub the muscle fibers to help them release any adhesions and to improve circulation. And lastly, moxibustion is an herb that is burned near to the body and in some cases can help to release tight muscles. Any of these techniques in combination with acupuncture may be appropriate to help relieve sciatica symptoms and any associated numbness, tingling, tightness, or other sensations.
The beautiful thing about acupuncture treatments is that we can also address pain, stress, and other concerns simultaneously. Other imbalances and stressors may be aggravating the pain, so acupuncture for those issues along with herbal medicine, if appropriate, can ease and speed the recovery from sciatica.
Are you curious about whether acupuncture may be right to address your sciatica? Call me for a free consultation to see if Chinese medicine is right for you!