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  • Dr. Anna Lunaria, Doctor of Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine

Acupuncture for Sciatica: Natural long lasting pain relief

Updated: Dec 31, 2022


Palpation to assess sciatica at the lumbar region
Palpation to assess sciatica originating at the lower back.

Sciatica is a common painful condition involving nerve pain that can radiate from impingement of the sciatic nerve anywhere from the lumbar spine, the sacroiliac joint or the gluteal region. It’s estimated that 40% of people between the age of 30-50 will develop sciatica at some point. At Yin Rising Acupuncture, we treat and resolve sciatica for patients almost daily!


Acupuncture can resolve sciatic pain by reducing inflammation of the nerve, restoring balanced muscle tone in involved muscles which will gently realign the spine/joints in the regions involved. Acupuncture also helps naturally relieve pain by releasing the body’s natural pain relievers, e.g. endorphins.


The first step in resolving your sciatic pain is properly assessing where exactly your sciatic nerve is being impinged! If it’s happening @ L3-L4 region (the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae) then you probably have nerve pain going down the side of your leg but it might also wrap around to your front thigh or shin. if the nerve is being impinged @ L5 or S1 (the fifth lumbar or first sacral nerve) then you probably have pain going down the back of your leg and it might go all the way to your feet. The strange thing about sciatica is that it can show up in your feet and skip your legs, or you might just feel it around your ankle. Looking a Dermatome map can help us figure out where your pain is originating from (google Dermatome map to see images).

It might surprise you to learn that not all Acupuncture practitioners treat sciatica the same way. Some Acupuncture styles never place needles where the pain is coming from: this style tends to only place needles at the hands/feet/scalp and/or ears. While this approach can offer some short term pain relief, scientific evidence and my clinical experience is that it does not provide long term relief. This is why @ Yin Rising Acupuncture, we practice Orthopedic Acupuncture (OA). OA does place needles locally @ the root cause of your pain. Orthopedic testing, postural and gait analysis as well as palpation based assessment of your sciatic pattern will determine exactly where to place the needles. We use are very thin needles! My acupuncture stlye is virtually pain free! You should only feel a little pinch, sometimes! Most patients tell us that they can barely feel them! Scientific evidence about how and why Acupuncture works is exploding, there are currently over 8,000 research studies about Acupuncture. In a recent systemic review and meta-analysis, Acupuncture was found to be more effective at relieving sciatica than conventional Western medical treatment (Ji, et al, 2015).


In addition to Acupuncture, we will often recommend specific gentle exercises you can do at home to relieve your symptoms and also teach you how to prevent the sciatica from coming back again! We will also recommend herbs and supplements or dietary changes to reduce pain and inflammation and heal nerve pain naturally. This can help you stay off pharmaceutical OTC and prescription drugs that can cause side effects. An Integrative Medicine approach is often best for the treatment and prevention of sciatica.


Here is a review from a happy patient "Dr. Anna is professional, informative and caring. I came to her with sciatica and within 5 sessions and doing the exercises she gave me, I am a new person. The experience was wonderful and I would recommend her to you if you are suffering from sciatica. Thank you Dr. Anna!"


The sooner you come in for Acupuncture treatment, the sooner we can resolve your pain and get your body healing! We provide expert, gentle, compassionate natural pain relief with over 30 years of experience. Make an appointment today! (480) 206-6199


PS Next check out the Blog post: Tips for Hips to watch two videos that will help you understand sciatica better and simple, gentle exercises you can do at home to resolve and prevent sciatica from returning!


Reference

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 : eCAM, 2015, 192808. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/192808

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