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Health Education Articles

Acupuncture for Sciatica

By Kimberly Guorong Du

Sciatica is a pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve. Sometimes, the pain extends from the buttock down the leg to the foot, although usually only part of this area is affected (usually the buttock and thigh). In severe cases, the pain may be accompanied by numbness or weakness in the affected area.

Sciatica is mainly divided to two groups:

First is idiopathic. The cause of this type is not identified in conventional medicine. But Chinese medicine identifies the cause as wind cold dampness. It often occurs when patients exposure to wind cold or wind dampness air.

Second is a neighboring problem. The most common cause of this type of sciatica is a prolapsed intervertebral disk pressing on a spinal root of the nerve. It may also be caused by pressure on the nerve from a tumor, tuberculosis, abscess, blood clot and sacroiliac joint, lumbar or sacral region soft tissue pathogenic change. Usually cough, sneeze, bowel movement would increase the pain. There are pressure and tapping pain around lumbar vertebra, and limitation of extension and flexion of the back. When the patient moves the leg or low back, the pain would radiate downwards to the buttocks, leg and feet.

For tumor, tuberculosis, abscess caused sciatic pain, conventional medical treatment would be the first choice in order to treat the cause. So, when patient have sciatic nerve pain he or she should go to the primary doctor first to diagnose the problem. For other kinds of sciatic pains, acupuncture and other Chinese medical treatments are very good choice.

Chinese medical treatments for sciatica include acupuncture or electrical acupuncture (deep or shallow needling), auricular acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, Tui Na (Chinese medical massage) and herbal medicine. Methods to be used would depend on the cause of the disease and the patient's conditions. In China, patients with sciatica often pursue acupuncture and other Traditional Chinese medical treatments. Clinically the patients mostly get cured.

For new and severe pain, patients should lie in a firm mattress. Most of sciatica patients should keep warm at all times. When working with effort, be careful with the posture or wear an elastic brace.

Chinese medical treatments are safe; drug free (no side effects) and can let you live without pain.


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