Can acupuncture help with sciatica?
Mention sciatica to anyone who’s suffered from it and the response you’re likely to get is an involuntary wince.
Sciatica is very common and can be absolutely unbearable. Left untreated, it can last for days or weeks, but in extreme cases it can become an ongoing chronic issue.
And once you’ve had it, it can recur – often very suddenly and with no obvious cause.
So, can acupuncture help with sciatica? It’s a question I get asked quite a lot. The answer is a simple one – yes, acupuncture can help with sciatica – but in the first instance it’s probably helpful to understand how acupuncture interacts with the physiology of the condition.
What is sciatica? Very simply, sciatica is the neuralgic response to irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back to your feet.
The sciatic nerve is the biggest nerve in your body and what you experience when it is compromised can be shooting or stabbing pains or a tingling sensation like severe pins and needles. This pain can manifest in your bottom, the back or side of the leg or in your feet and toes.
Symptoms are often magnified at times of sudden or involuntary movement, such as sneezing.
The sad thing for many people who suffer with sciatica, especially when it recurs chronically, is that they believe they have no other option than to take painkillers, grit their teeth and carry on.
These days there’s no reason why anyone should have to live with ongoing pain. If you’re a regular follower of my articles, then you’ll know I’m a big advocate of integrative medicine.
Integrative medicine is born of the philosophy that lifestyle plays a big part in the quality of your physical and mental health and that both complementary and clinical medical practice can – and should – work in tandem to protect you and to encourage better lifestyle choices.
Lifestyle is a major trigger for sciatica. Poor posture – both sleeping and waking, exercise and the frantic rush of daily life all combine to take their toll on our bodies, and we all know that habits, whether good or bad, are hard to break.
Acupuncture is excellent at relaxing muscles, joints and ligaments and helping to improve blood flow and oxygenation. This in turn helps our nervous system to do the job it is designed to do without restrictions.
The treatment works by painlessly inserting superfine needles into the skin at key points on the body to unblock the natural energy that helps us to live our lives in good health and to heal when we are injured or unwell.
This energy – or Qi – is essential to our ongoing wellness, and because acupuncture is an holistic treatment, meaning that unlike prescription drugs it is not targeted to treat only one thing, it has benefits that go far beyond addressing the condition that brought you into the clinic in the first place.
More than that, it’s a treatment that has none of the side effects that can often be associated with some of the painkillers that might be prescribed by your own GP.
I’m not anti-pharma – there is a time and a place for medication of all types. However, I also believe that complementary therapies like acupuncture can be an additional and natural way to treat everyday issues that we may find debilitating or uncomfortable.
Certainly, I think acupuncture is worth considering if you suffer with chronic or recurrent conditions that a clinical medical approach from your GP or medical specialist has been unable to sort out – after all, it’s a treatment that’s been around since ancient times!
And if you’re someone who’s never considered acupuncture because you’ve been worried about needles, then why not get in touch with us for an informal, no-obligation chat. Not only might we be able to reassure you, but we can also talk through other non-needle solutions that you might want to think about.
If you suffer from sciatica and you seem to be getting nowhere using conventional medical approaches – or perhaps you just want to take a more natural and holistic approach to your own wellbeing – come and talk to us – our acupuncture for sciatica could be just what you’ve been looking for.