Acupuncture is an effective treatment for sciatica. Assuming the cause is not disk herniation, Most patients report a dramatic decrease in pain after a single treatment. Multiple treatments are the norm for more chronic conditions. The longer the condition has persisted, the longer the treatment regimen.

What is Sciatica?

The Sciatic is the largest nerve in the body which comprise of a huge bundle of smaller nerves. These nerves start in the lumbar spine and travel downwards towards buttocks and through the leg. The sciatic nerve literally can be a big pain in the butt. Technically speaking, sciatica is a set of symptoms which have an effect on the sciatic nerve region and not a disease. The #1 symptom associated with sciatica is a burning and intense pain. There can also be a tingling sensation and feeling of numbness originating in the lumbar area traveling down the hamstring.

How does Sciatica occur?

When something puts pressure on the sciatic nerve it leads to Sciatica. This can be the spinal discs, spasmed muscles and at times the spine itself. Mostly this pain is caused due to slipped disc or muscle spasm. But you must consult a doctor for diagnosis to rule out serious illness.

When a tiny part of the spinal disc bulges out of the spinal column, it’s called Spinal Disc herniation, commonly known as slipped disc. It can put pressure on the sciatic nerve inflicting pain. Constriction of the spinal canal known as spinal stenosis can push on the sciatic nerve and cause a lot of pain in some severe cases. A spinal tumor can also be a cause of sciatica which obviously requires medical intervention.

Another common cause of sciatica is Muscle spasms. Generally the piriformis muscle is responsible, but it can be other muscles in the pelvic area and low back as well.

Sciatica in Chinese medical terms

Sciatica pain Acupuncture

According to Chinese medicine our body is completely interconnected which means no part can be separated from another part. Based on the identification of imbalances in the muscles and the entire body the diagnosis and treatment is carried out. Treating the imbalance does not mean masking the condition or correcting the symptoms instead it reaches the root of the problem and encourages healing of the body.

The back channel Qi and blood stagnation is the most common imbalance in severe sciatica. Qi and blood stagnation affects the soft tissue of the pelvis, lumbar and hips. This leads to muscle spasm and tension which causes intense pain. It is very important to find out underlying imbalance the causing Qi and blood stagnation and treat it.

Typical conditions contributing to sciatica

Liver Qi stagnation: When you feel frustrated or angry liver qi stagnation tightens your muscles and causes spasm. This may cause frequent headaches and painful menses in women.

Kidney Qi Deficiency: When your back feels weak and frail and in spite of a lot of rest it doesn’t get any better, kidney Qi deficiency may be the reason for it.

Following are some other symptoms:

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Dizziness

  • Weakness of the knees

  • Weak pulse

  • Ringing in the ears

Spleen Qi Deficiency with Damp: Those people who suffer with spleen Qi deficiency with damp may also feel weakness and fatigue, but the back improves with proper rest. The body feels heavy and you may suffer from indigestion.

You can prevent the return of sciatica by treating these underlying imbalances.

Sciatica treatment with Chinese medicine

Acupuncture helps the muscles to stay appropriately relaxed. This helps the body to self-heal. Once the pain is gone, you must look after your back by strengthening and lengthening the muscles. Stretching and exercise is important. It helps keep the muscles relaxed and healthy.

To Whom It May Concern,

I had been suffering from sciatica for about 6 or 7 years. I would get numbness in my right thigh, and excruciating pain down my right leg when standing straight up, or walking for any period of time. I had gone to several doctors and they all said the same thing: yes, you have a pinched nerve, and no, there’s nothing we can do for you. Finally somebody recommended that I get acupuncture treatment. He recommended his acupuncturist, Laurel Binder.

I was skeptical of nontraditional medicine (I still am). But I was at the end of my rope: the pain was getting worse. I went to see Laurel and now I’m a believer. My pain was gone after several sessions, and the numbness went away almost completely. I never even think about my sciatica any more. And this after I had resigned to live with it the rest of my life.

Thanks Laurie!


Matt B.
Santa Monica