Natural Pain Relief for Sciatic Pain

The painful and elusive “sciatica” - what is it, and how does acupuncture help?

A large majority of our patients experience sciatic pain at some point in their lives. But what does “sciatica” mean? The term “sciatic” pain is used to describe pain caused by the impingement of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, and runs down the back of the spine and into the legs and feet. Irritation or impingement of the nerve can cause radiating pain, weakness, or a burning or tingling sensation. This discomfort can be felt in the low back, glute area, the side of or back of one leg, and sometimes in the shin and foot.

Many of our patients’ pain is due to an impingement of this nerve at the low back, while others have impingement in the buttock area (by a small muscle called the piriformis). The pain patterns of these two may be different but acupuncture can often treat both types ofsciatic pain naturally.

Acupuncture for Sciatic Pain

Using acupuncture and other modalities (such as cupping and tui na - a type of bodywork) our practitioners are able to help pinpoint the source of the pain, and relieve patients’ symptoms. Decreasing inflammation and loosening tight muscles can be key to minimizing discomfort. In Chinese medicine this equates to unblocking meridians and ensuring the free flow of energy, or qi (pronounced “chee”). It is important to note that if sciatica is caused by a structural issue, such as a degenerative disc, acupuncture cannot reverse or help it. It can, however, be used to manage sciatic pain. Patients who get acupuncture regularly often notice significant and long lasting results.

Massage for Sciatic Pain

Sciatica Pain that caused by tight muscles in the lower back can achieve relief from massage therapy as the massage practitioner can help to work the area by stretching and relaxing the muscles to release and balance out. Thus reducing any compression of the nerves that may be causing the radiating pain. Your practitioner can also recommend stretches or exercises to help maintain the pain through a variety of techniques. 

Causes of Sciatic Pain that Acupuncture can help:

  • Herniated (“bulging” or “slipped”) disc
  • Piriformis syndrome
  • Back spasm
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Disc Degeneration
  • Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction

Natural pain management with acupuncture and massage in Seattle and Tacoma: