Acupuncture for Treatment of Sciatica

Sciatica – Chronic Disease

Sciatica is a medical condition with associated symptoms of pain along the leg and hip, affecting one side of the body. Sciatica may be as a result of spinal compression, bone spurs on the spine of herniated disc. The pain experienced may come as aching, shooting or burning pain and it could be a combination of these pains.

Sciatica has some risk factors that can be avoided while others cannot be avoided. Factors such as age, back injuries, spinal tumors, back strain due to pregnancy and diabetic nerve damage are not preventable risk factors.

Sciatica sufferers tend to live with the condition undiagnosed for months and sometimes years in mild cases, assuming it to be a normal cramping. Some of the possible signs experienced by sufferers include the following.

–    Burning, searing or tingling pain down the leg

–    Pain gets worse while sitting and it is felt in the buttocks or leg

–    Pain in one side of the buttocks

–    Difficulty in moving the leg or foot and also difficult to stand.

Causes of Sciatic Pains

Sciatic pain is a result of structural impingement or the compression of the sciatic nerve Causes of Sciaticain the lower back of the body. This occurs either due to a long term degeneration of the lumbar area or an injury to the lower back. The location where the pain is felt depends on where the compressed sciatic nerve is located. Sciatica can be as a result of any of these conditions

–    Lumbar spinal stenosis

–    Degenerative disc disease

–    Pregnancy

–    Herniated lumbar disc

–    Spondylolisthesis

Treatment of Sciatica

The common treatment for Sciatica includes epidural steroid injection, pain killers, hot/ cold therapy and surgery to correct structural defects in the lower back.

Alternatively, acupuncture which is a practice developed from the traditional Chinese medicine offers a gently and safer treatment for sciatic pain, as it is common with general pain management.

How Acupuncture Works for Pain Relief

Acupuncture procedure involves the insertion of tiny needles into specific points called acupuncture points on the body surface. This insertion of needles triggers a certain reaction in the nervous system which is transmitted to the brain. The brain release natural painkillers such as endorphins and encephalins as a result of this reaction. There is also an increased blood flow into the body part where the pain is experienced bringing a form of relaxation to the surrounding area.

Role of Acupuncture in the treatment of Sciatica

Though acupuncture cannot correct or heal structural defect in the lower back that is responsible for Sciatica, it is an effective treatment in the pain management of Sciatica. Acupuncture offers relief for acute pain experienced by Sciatica patients and helps in its management for an extended period, showing significant improvement.

The acupuncture procedure includes the placing of acupuncture needles inside the wrist/ forearm area and the lower calf/ankle area where the acupuncture points for pain management are located. These needles inserted will increase the flow of blood and bring relaxation to the muscles of the affected area which is the lumbar vertebrae and the pathway of the pain in the leg.

Some primary acupuncture points that are commonly used in this treatment include Zhibia BL54, Dachangshu BL25, Weizhong BL40, Chengfu BL36, Fengshi GB31, Chengsha BL57, Ashi, Huantia GB30 and Yaoyangguan DU3. Additional points where needles are inserted for Qi stagnation and blood stasis include Xuehai (SP10) and Taichong (LV3). Also for liver and kidney deficiency, Shenshu (BL23) and Taixi (KD3) are added. For cold and damp stasis, Yanglingquan (GB34) is added.


Sciatica is a painful condition that requires urgent medical attention as it impacts daily lives of the sufferer and it can be bothersome. Whether the experience is still mild or at the chronic stage, it is essential to seek help from a qualified acupuncturist. In case you have tried other treatments that have yielded little or no improvement, which should not be enough reason not to try and seek help from an acupuncturist of repute. Lots of research has proved the effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of Sciatica. The best way out is to go for acupuncture treatment to improve your mobility and quality of life, by managing your pain effectively.

At the Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic licensed practitioners provide acupuncture treatment using the most modern and effective approaches including classical acupuncture, auricular therapy (Ear Acupuncture), electrical acupuncture, moxibustion, meridian massage, injections of homeopathic Traumeel, and more. We are located in the center of NorthEast region of Philadelphia, near the public transportation and shopping places.