Sciatica is one of the most common disorders seen in the acupuncture clinic. It is estimated that up to 40% of the New Zealand population will experience sciatica at some point in their lives.
What is Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in the body. When this nerve inflames, it is called sciatica. Sciatica nerve originates in the lower spine travels through the buttocks, down the back of the legs and branches into the lower legs and feet.
What causes Sciatica pain?
Sciatic pain occurs when there is pressure on, or damage to, the sciatic nerve that lead to nerve inflammation. The most common cause of sciatica is disc prolapse. This occurs when one of the gel-filled discs between the vertebrae of the spine bulges or ruptures, compressing and/or irritating the sciatic nerve. Muscle spasms are also a common cause of sciatica. Most often it is the piriformis muscle, but it can be other muscles in the lower back and pelvic region. Essentially, any injury or process which causes compression of the sciatic nerve can cause sciatic pain.
Patients with sciatic pain may have a burning sensation, numbness, or tingling radiating from the lower back and upper buttock down the back/side of the thigh to the back/side of the leg. The result is lumbar pain, buttock pain, hip pain, and leg pain. Severe sciatica can make walking difficult and even unable to sleep.
How does Acupuncture treat sciatica?
The pathways of the sciatic pain are very similar to the Acupuncture channel pathways on the back of our body. Therefore by needling the selected acupuncture points on these channels will relieve the pain effectively and facilitate for recovery. In comparison to the western medicine options i.e. pain killer, cortisol injection or surgery, Acupuncture is natural; relieve pain instantly without side effect, quick results, safe and low risk, it is highly recommended for those sciatica patients who are suffering pain constantly and wish to avoid any risky spinal surgery.