Most commonly, providers will recommend conservative treatments for sciatica. This includes ice packs or heat, along with physical therapy. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as Ibuprofen and NSAIDs, may relieve some. If the pain does not resolve in a few weeks, providers may discuss more advanced options like spinal injections or, in severe cases, surgery.
As part of the conservative line of treatment, providers may recommend acupuncture to get relief. If you are working through this at home, adding acupuncture could help you recover and eliminate the pain.
Thin needles will be placed along your body’s meridian lines during acupuncture treatments. These meridians are the energy points in your body that the provider uses to move the qi. Balancing the qi helps to treat the pain you are experiencing from sciatica.
Authentic Chinese Acupuncture
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) focuses on the balance of energy within the human body (and everything else.) This energy is referred to as qi or vital energy. TCM uses this movement of energy within us to provide better health. In the case of sciatica, the qi in the liver and kidney, along with poor sleep, causes the pain to worsen in the evening. The wind and cold will also cause the symptoms to worsen.
The human body is full of nerves. These nerves connect our brains to every function that we do. Different types of nerves help you to feel sensations and to move muscles. Since you are reading this blog, you may be familiar with the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the largest nerve in our bodies. It is responsible for making your leg and feet move. The sciatic nerve also helps with the sensations you feel on the skin of your legs and feet. It is also one that commonly causes problems for millions of people around the world. It is estimated that almost 40% of people in the U.S. will experience Sciatica at some point.
The sciatic nerve can become pinched or inflamed for several reasons. The most common is a herniated disc in the lumbar spine or arthritis. As we age, our bones change, giving way to potential issues like sciatica. People who work with their backs or sit all day are also at an increased risk.
Since this nerve is the largest in the human body, many areas could cause issues. This large nerve starts in the lower back and then passes through the pelvic region behind the piriformis muscle. It travels down through the gluteal muscles, through the thigh, and down into the leg, where it eventually branches off. Along this route, there are additional smaller branches from the main nerve.
When this nerve becomes pinched or inflamed anywhere along the route, it will likely cause pain along its entire length. Most often, people with sciatica feel pain in their mid-buttock region. It will frequently radiate down into the back of the impacted leg. If the nerve is impacted severely, you may notice a lack of sensation in your skin and general leg weakness. Everyone has a different reaction to nerves. Some people may describe the pain as shooting or stabbing. Others may it is like a burning or electric current.
As more studies are completed, Western Medicine has accepted acupuncture as a treatment option for many ailments. Insurance carriers are now often paying for these services. There have been many studies specific to Sciatica. Here are the highlights of a few:
Postpartum Sciatica - 111 women suffering from postpartum sciatica were placed into two groups. The acupuncture group contained 86 women, while the control group had 25. Those in the acupuncture group received treatment 3 times a week for 4 weeks. The control group was given bed rest. One month after treatment, 98% of the acupuncture group had recovered. The control group had a 24% recovery rate.
Warming Acupuncture for Sciatica – A group of 90 patients was divided into 3 separate groups. The acupuncture group was treated using needles warmed with Moxa. There was a group given Nimesulide tablets. The final group was given an injection of Anisodamine. There was a significant improvement in pain and clinical symptoms of the acupuncture group over the others.
Acupuncture is an excellent treatment option for both sciatica and your overall health. Choosing the best provider can sometimes feel overwhelming. Search for a licensed provider that has experience and education in the field. Having a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine like those at EBOM will ensure you the best outcome.
Are you ready to get relief from the pain of sciatica? Reach out to the compassionate team at EBOM today. Our experienced practitioners will be happy to answer any questions you have and develop a treatment regimen that will work best for you.
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