A literal pain in the a$#, true sciatica involves impingement or inflammation of the sciatic nerve which travels through the sciatic notch in the posterior hip. When pain is caused by the sciatic nerve, and not by a disc issue in the spine, pain is experienced in the buttocks and may travel down the side or back of the leg, terminating behind the knee. Sciatica should be differentiated from disc impingement via MRI or another appropriate orthopedic test.
Typically, sciatica is related to an issue in the spine, which refers down through the sciatic nerve and to the lower leg. Sciatica may also be caused by piriformis syndrome, whereby the piriformis muscle contracts around the sciatic nerve, causing pain.
How Acupuncture Treats Sciatica
Acupuncture works to relieve inflammation in and around the spine to relieve radicular (radiating) pain.
Acupuncture can also relieve muscle spasms (specifically in the piriformis and gluteus maximus muscles).
Finally, acupuncture can ‘turn off’ pain signals that are firing unnecessarily or inappropriately.
Typical Course of Treatment
- 8-12 treatments over 1-2 months as an initial course of treatment
- Follow up treatments on a monthly or as-needed basis
- Appropriate strengthening & flexibility exercises