Sciatica & Nerve pain

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What is Sciatica?

The sciatic nerves are the largest nerves in your body. They start in your low lumbar spine and travel down through the buttocks, the leg, and all the way through the soles of your feet and your toes. At its largest, the sciatic nerve is roughly the diameter of a pen. 

Sciatica happens when the nerve itself or a root that forms the nerve becomes pinched. This is usually the result of a ruptured or slipped disk in the back that puts pressure on the nerve or root, causing pain to radiate down some or all of the sciatic nerve. Osteoarthritis can also contribute to sciatica by narrowing the exit from the lower spine through which the nerve passes. As a result, sciatica is more common in older adults.


Relieve Sciatica & Nerve Pain with Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees sciatica as an imbalance in the body. While this refers more to the energy pathways of the body, it’s true that sciatica is caused by an imbalance— usually a herniated disk. TCM, therefore, has three different treatment options for sciatica.


TCM practitioners determine which treatment is right on a case-by-case basis, ensuring that the patient gets the correct treatment for their particular situation.

Efficacy of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Sciatica

One aspect that was examined in the following review paper on the efficacy of acupuncture treatment for sciatica.

Ji, M., Wang, X., Chen, M., Shen, Y., Zhang, X., & Yang, J. (2015). The efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of sciatica: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, p. 1-12. doi:10.1155/2015/192808

"The pooled data from nine of these studies indicated that there was a highly significant reduction in pain levels in the treatment groups (780 patients) versus the medication groups (771 patients). This did not vary with the type of medication being compared (steroid, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, topical, etc.)"

The review paper concludes that acupuncture is an effective method for treating sciatica, although more rigorous clinical trials should be performed.

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Suffering from Sciatica?