Acupuncture for Sciatica: Does it work?
Is using acupuncture for Sciatica a viable treatment option? The short answer is, yes. A recent story by ABC News discusses how this ancient treatment may have healing properties. However, results will vary and it is important to understand the thought process behind using acupuncture for your Sciatica.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient form of treatment believed to be over 5,000 years old. Contrary to popular belief, the ancient Chinese were not the only ones using acupuncture. There is historical evidence concluding that many cultures used acupuncture as a means of treatment.
Those who believe in the power of acupuncture believe that our body is filled with energy, referred to as “Qi.” Sometimes this Qi is is blocked and causes us pain or discomfort. In order to unblock the Qi, an acupuncturist will stick a thin needle into the blocked area. This allows the Qi to flow freely and relieve you of your pain or discomfort.
More specifically, acupuncturists believe that your body is made up of different meridians. Each meridian is an area on your body that can be stimulated through acupuncture. Targeting the correct meridian(s) allows us to treat a variety of symptoms. Utilizing acupuncture for Sciatica involves targeting the meridians in our lower back, legs, and feet.
A Western Explanation of Acupuncture
There is not one explanation on why acupuncture is effective. In fact, there are many theories on why sticking needles into your body can help you.
- One theory indicates that the insertion of needles into your body causes the release of endorphins. These endorphins can give you relief from pain.
- Another theory claims that through continued treatment, your body develops a higher pain tolerance and therefore copes with Sciatica pain better.
- A final theory states that the stimulation through acupuncture can have a variety of effects including tissue growth and repair, improved circulation and inflammation reduction. Why? Think of it as fiddling with your TV antenna to get a better signal. Sometimes it just needs to be poked and prodded.
Acupuncture for Sciatica
An acupuncturist should start with an initial examination of the patient. The purpose of this examination is to determine where exactly the patient is experiencing Sciatica and if possible, the cause of the Sciatica. If the cause can be determined, the affected area can be better targeted.
The video below explains acupuncture and Sciatica very simply.
Acupuncture needles are very thin, and you should not feel any pain. Each needle can be adjusted once inserted into the skin.
Some studies indicate that 90% of patients who use acupuncture for Sciatica report a decrease in pain.
Many patients report a decrease in pain within two hours after their first session.
Patients who receive ten to twenty acupuncture treatments over a period of months, report having no Sciatica pain. These same patients also use acupuncture in conjunction with other treatment methods such as, stretching, medication, diet, exercise and chiropractic care.
As always, individual results will vary and you should consult your healthcare professional before attempting any treatment plan.
For more information on pain located on the lower right side of your back, click the link.