Sciatica is a set of symptoms that begin in the lumbar (lower) spine and travel to other areas of the lower body. When an intervertebral disc or bone spur places pressure on the sciatic nerve – a major nerve bundle that serves the lower back, buttocks, and both legs and feet – a patient is said to have sciatica. Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, biofeedback and manual medicine can help relieve patients of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with sciatica. These symptoms are typically felt on one side of the body and may include:
- Dull, sharp, or burning pain
- Shooting pain felt through the buttock, leg, and thigh (typically on one side of the body, but it may occur on both sides)
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty standing, walking or sitting
These symptoms can be quite debilitating at times, but several options are available for treating sciatica. Alternative treatments can be especially beneficial to some patients, including the use of acupuncture.
What is Acupuncture?
This Ancient Chinese practice involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points (or meridians) on the body. Meridians are thought to be connected to certain parts of the body, including the lymphatic, nervous, and cardiovascular systems. The practice of inserting needles into these meridians is said to unblock the body’s energy and restore a healthy flow.
How Does Acupuncture Affect Sciatica?
Patients with sciatica may reap the benefits of acupuncture, which some claim to include decreased pain, improved immune function and the need for fewer pain medications. As with all treatments (both conventional and alternative), acupuncture should only be performed by a licensed practitioner with sterile equipment.
What Else Can I Do?
While acupuncture is not fully accepted by mainstream medicine, you still can speak with your primary care physician to find out if acupuncture can help you better manage your symptoms of sciatica. Alternative treatments can be most effective when used alongside conventional medicine. If you’ve found that conservative and alternative treatments are not providing you with lasting relief, contact Laser Spine Institute for more information regarding our safe and effective endoscopic procedures that can help you rediscover your life without back and neck pain.