Is acupuncture effective in treating sciatica pain? The quick answer is yes, acupuncture actually is a great treatment option for treating the symptoms associated with sciatica for a few various reasons.
What Exactly is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition diagnosed by your medical doctor which involves inflammation of the sciatic nerve. The symptoms associated with this condition are usually pain radiating down your leg starting from your lower back. Though it is typically on one side of the body, it can be on both sides of your body. The pain pattern varies and may be in the front, back, or side of the leg. You may also experience numbness or weakness in the foot and parts of the affected leg.
The condition usually occurs in people ranging from their 40’s-50’s and is a bit more common in men. Essentially, sciatica means that the lumbar is unstable, thus destabilizing the surrounding muscles. Flare ups generally last for about 6 weeks and are usually chronic.
Why Choose Acupuncture for Sciatica?
Acupuncture works very well to treat neuromuscular pain (the pain you would feel from sciatica), and the neurotransmitter-initiating effects bring more blood to the area to help alleviate your symptoms and relax your muscles and body as a whole. The release of endorphins is also very helpful for treating the discomfort caused by the condition.
It is treated using both distal and proximal needles. Distal needles help to relax the body and are usually inserted in the scalp, hands and ear. Proximal needles are used at the localized area of pain (hip, lower back, leg and foot) to target the area for relief. Combined with moxibustion and/or massage therapy, this can produce amazing results and can help to alleviate the pain entirely.
How Many Treatments Do I Need?
To achieve relief from sciatica, it is generally recommended to go to at least 6-12 sessions once a week for optimal treatment. Some may experience immediate pain relief after their first session, whilst others with more moderate to severe sciatica may take up to five treatments to start to feel the effects. Plus, going for multiple or ongoing treatment will allow you to see a more lasting effect.
If your condition is spinal-based or more severe, it can take longer to feel the relief from acupuncture, as the acupuncturist must target all the joints that are inter-connected and causing the pain. But, that doesn’t mean that your first few sessions have been a waste- it simply takes longer to realign your body and to achieve the relief you’re looking for.