What is sciatica and how can acupuncture help?

Sciatic Nerve Gray’s Anatomy

Sciatica is pain and numbness that effect the lower back, buttock, runs down the leg, and sometimes even the feet.  This is the region of the sciatic nerve.

Acupuncture is very effective for relieving symptoms of acute and chronic sciatica from herniated lumbar spinal discs.  I have developed a very effective acupuncture treatment for sciatica and have helped many people with herniated lumbars discs and sciatica.

What Causes Sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It consists of a large bundle of smaller nerves that begin in the lumbar spine, travel down the buttocks, and through the leg.

Sciatica occurs when something pushes on the sciatic nerve. Most often this pain is due to muscle spasms or a slipped disc, but it can also be a sign of serious illness and it is important to go to your doctor for a diagnosis.

Lumbar Disc Herniation

Spinal Disc herniation, often referred to as a slipped disc, is when a small portion of the spinal disc bulges out of the spinal column. This disc then pushes on the sciatic nerve causing pain.

Muscle Spasms Causing Sciatica

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.

Piriformis syndrome can cause chronic sciatica. Sometimes the sciatic nerve runs under or through the piriformis muscle. This muscle is located in the pelvis. It is connected to the bottom of the spine and the top of the femur, or thighbones. If the piriformis muscle starts to spasm or becomes tight, it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause the pain as well as the radiating symptoms. This persistent spasm of the piriformis muscle is called piriformis syndrome. It can be caused by an injury or sedentary lifestyles in people who don’t stretch or exercise. Particularly if you sit all day at a desk or computer, this can be a problem.

Acupuncture helps to reset the pathway of pain that is causing the sciatica.  In my next post I discuss acupuncture treatment of sciatica. 

Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
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