acupuncture for sciatica

Acupuncture for Sciatica

Sciatica is the inflammation of the sciatic nerve, usually marked by pain and tenderness along the course of the nerve on through to the thigh and leg.

Sciatic usually starts in the buttocks and extends down the rear of the thigh and lower leg to the sole of the foot and along the outer side of the lower leg to the top of the foot. Pain may also be present in the lower back.

Several nerve roots leave the spinal cord and exit through holes in the sacrum to combine and form the sciatic nerve, which then passes between layers of the buttock muscles into the deep muscles of the back of the thigh.

A primary cause of sciatica is a herniated or bulging lower lumbar intervertebral disk that compresses one of the nerve roots before it joins the sciatic nerve. Sometimes, irritation of a branch of the sciatic nerve in the leg can be so severe as to set up a reflex pain reaction involving the entire length of the nerve. For example, if the nerve is pinched or irritated near the knee, you may feel the pain in the hip and buttock.

Another cause of sciatica is the Piriformis syndrome. The piriformis muscle extends from the side of the sacrum to the top of the thigh bone at the hip joint, passing over the sciatic nerve in route. When a short or tight piriformis is stretched, it can compress and irritate the sciatic nerve. Because the piriformis muscle acts to rotate the leg outward, people who habitually stand with their toes turned out often develop Piriformis syndrome, as do runners and cyclists, who over use and under stretch the piriformis muscle.

Sciatica is usually a symptom of a bulging lumbar disk. Its distinguishing feature is greater pain in the posterior thigh and lower leg or foot over time, rather than in the lower back

Acupuncture is highly effective for treating Sciatic as it reduces inflammation in the area, this in turn takes the pressure off the Sciatic nerve and relieves pain – as the benefits of each session are accumulative, pain will reduce after each session. Best results are usually achieved with a course of 10 – 12 sessions. At the start of treatment it would be recommended to attend 2 – 3 times a week for the first two weeks and then once a week from then onwards.