Acupuncture for Sciatica
Acupuncture is very effective for relieving symptoms of acute and chronic sciatica.
The optimal acupuncture treatment of sciatica is personalized to each patients needs. Acupuncture treatment of sciatica will focus on relaxing the muscles, reducing inflammation, and relieving pain. Naturally.
Acupuncture can also help strengthening the muscles. I use a combination of acupuncture, electroacupuncture, and cupping to optimize each patients therapy. Many insurance companies cover acupuncture for back pain.
Combination therapy for Sciatica
The most effective therapy for sciatica includes acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, and cupping. The back, hip, and pelvis are interconnected and the treatment should incorporate the entire region.
Overall, the acupuncture treatment should relax the muscles, reducing inflammation, and regulate the nervous system to relieve pain. This will help release the spastic muscles and strengthen them, allowing the back to naturally heal. It can even encourage an out of place disc to go back into place, depending on severity.
Acupuncture has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation through regulating neural pain pathways, stimulate the release of natural pain relieves in the body, such as opioids, as well as regulate pain relieving opioid receptors. Research also has shown acupuncture to have a anti-inflammatory effect, reducing the circulating inflammatory hormones in the blood. This will help to reprogram the muscles to stay relaxed, and in effect, encourage the body heal itself.
Chinese massage, or tui na, works to support the acupuncture by releasing any extra tension in the fascia and connective tissue around the muscles. The technique called rolling is very important to deeply relax the muscles and improve circulation at the same time.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica occurs when something pushes on the sciatic nerve. This can be a muscle spasm or the spinal discs. 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 if the symptoms persist for a long period.
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. Acupuncture has been shown to be very effective for lumbar disc herniation. I have a helped many people with disc herniation.
In some severe cases, spinal stenosis, or a narrowing of the spinal canal, can push on the nerve and cause pain. Another serious cause of sciatica is spinal tumors, which require immediate medical attention.
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.