What is Sciatica?
The name sciatica is not a condition in of itself. It is a broad term that we use to describe pain and discomfort in the lower back. The name refers to the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body that runs from the lower back, down the leg. Because of its large area, sciatic pain and symptoms can occur anywhere from the lower back right down to the feet.
So how can you tell you have sciatic pain?
The pain and symptoms of sciatica can take many forms. Some people will report pain that radiates from the lower back down the leg. Others report a pain in the buttocks that will usually be worse when seated. Numbness and weakness in the leg, as well as difficulty standing could also be different types of sciatic pain.
What causes sciatic pain?
Sciatic pain is caused by any pressure that affects the function or pathway of the nerve. It could conceivably come from any number of western medical issues such as;
Degeneration or displacement of back disc. There is a “spongey” protective tissue between each vertebra. This tissue between can break down or discs can be out of alignment.
Spondylolisthesis. Fractures that move part of the vertebra, so it impinges on other vertebrae.
Lumbar Stenosis. A narrowing of the canal that houses the Sciatic nerve.
How does acupuncture treat Sciatica?
First, I think it is important to explain that acupuncture cannot treat the various structural issues that are listed above. For example, if you have a bone growth or fracture that is rubbing against the sciatic nerve, acupuncture will be of limited value until the structural issue is resolved.
However, that is not everyone…
Structural problems are not always the cause of sciatic pain. As we know from previous discussion -Chinese Medicine has a unique perspective on all illness and disharmony in the body. As such, our view, diagnosis and treatment will use different words and completely different treatment than other Health Care Practitioners.
In many, many cases we can assist with the pain associated with Sciatica
How so you ask?
Well it all depends on the underlying reason for your pain. When there is blockage, there is pain. Blockages or obstructions (called Bi syndrome in Chinese Medicine) can take many different forms. The “pernicious influences” of Chinese Medicine; Cold, Damp, Heat, Wind and Dryness can all invade the body from outside and all cause blockages with their own unique set of symptoms. In addition to these external factors, your qi and blood can get stagnated as a result of internal weakness – which can also cause Sciatic pain.
If you take the example of a cold blockage, where external cold has stagnated your qi and blood then the first goal of the treatment is to remove the cold. This is usually done with moxibustion, a warm herb (mugwort) that is ignited and placed near the skin to produce a delightful warming effect. Once the cold is resolved, then normal blood and qi flow starts to return. All the other pernicious influences will have their own individual treatment strategies that are all designed to do the same thing – return blood and qi flow to normal.
But its not always evil sounding influences trying to invade you…
Sometimes it can be internal deficiencies. Of blood. Of qi. Of Yin (cooling energies). Of Yang (warming energies) and many others. These can arise from many different sources such as constitutional (birth/DNA) weakness, irregular meals, not getting enough sleep and relaxation and numerous other reasons. As a rule, I would say that these types of internal deficiencies are a little harder and more time consuming to treat.
So, as you can see, there are so many factors at play according to Chinese Medicine. Each diagnosis and treatment of Sciatic pain must be treated differently.
When should I come in and see you for my pain?
Whether you have sought out other treatments or not. Long-term or short term. Constant or intermittent pain – I do suggest you pop in and see me here at Eternal Dragon.
Western Medicine views these conditions very differently and you may have been told that there are no other options to treat you. Or that you require back surgery. You may just want to try something different.
If you are suffering from Sciatica and wish to try a different approach with Acupuncture and Energy Healing. Book your first session now.
If you have any further questions – contact us here.