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Acupuncture for Sciatica

Acupuncture has proven to be very effective for many people who struggle with the discomfort of sciatica. This condition is characterized by a nervy and gnawing pain that radiates down the side or back of the buttock and leg. Sometimes sciatica affects both legs and the pain may even extend into the calf.

Frequently, this situation arises due to a tight piriformis muscle (in the buttock) which presses on the sciatic nerve causing discomfort along the course of the nerve. Poor sitting and sleeping posture, excessive sitting, or inadequate exercise and stretching may all contribute to a chronically tight pirirformis. In some cases, sciatic pain may be caused by a herniated lumbar disc. In these situations, the compressed disc puts pressure on the origin of the sciatic nerve causing pain in the low back as well as into the leg.

From the perspective of acupuncture theory, sciatica is due to blocked qi and blood flow in the body. Blockages such as this alter proper circulation and often lead to inflammation or degeneration. Acupuncture is a safe and gentle treatment that balances the flow of qi and blood and brings about natural restoration in the muscle and nerve tissues of the body. In addition, this type of holistic treatment tends to be very relaxing and one often finds their entire sense of well-being improves through the treatment process.

With adequate time and proper treatment, most cases of sciatica can be helped. The number of acupuncture treatments required will vary depending on the cause, severity, and duration of the sciatica. The general course of treatment involves one to two visits a week for four weeks, after which time a progress assessment is made. On average, acute cases of sciatica that have only been around for a few weeks can find success after a single course of treatment. Sciatica that has been left untreated for several months or longer may require additional time to achieve sustained relief. Fortunately, recovery from this debilitating and frustrating condition is fully possible. If conventional therapies aren't doing the trick, try Traditional Chinese acupuncture. It's safe, it's natural and it works.

Articles and Research

Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Treating Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis: NIH


If you would like to learn more about acupuncture and discuss your specific health situation, please phone 403.455.0880. Dr. Wegmann will be happy to answer your questions.

Mitch Wegmann is a registered acupuncturist and doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He owns and operates Calgary Acupuncture Centre in the city's southwest quadrant, near the Marda Loop district.

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