What is Sciatica?
Sciatica defines any pain that is caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, it runs from the lower back (exiting in the lumbar part of the spine) through the buttocks and down the leg. It can affect different people in different ways, with pain ranging from mild and irritating to severe and debilitating.
What are the Symptoms?
Typically, sciatica only affects one side of the body. You may experience any of the following symptoms in your buttocks, down your leg or even your toes:
What causes Sciatica?
Nerves exit the spine via nerve roots in between the vertebrae. A group of nerves in the lower back merge to form the sciatic nerve. Sciatica occurs when something is pressing or rubbing the nerve as it exits the spine, such as:
How can it be treated?
General treatment for sciatica includes prescription painkillers specifically for nerve pain, and combination of gentle exercises and stretches. It also advised that where possible to carry on with your day to day activities.
How Acupuncture can help:
Acupuncture helps to relieve sciatica by:
It also has an effect on the nervous system; when the needles are inserted, local nerves stimulate the release of endorphins and other neurotransmitters. These change how the brain and spinal cord processes pain, explaining how pain is reduced.
Over the past few months there has been an increasing amount of people seeking relief for their sciatica. We have found that most patients respond well to acupuncture, both for relief from the acute pain and in helping to manage and resolve their sciatica. Find out how acupuncture helped Steve, in the next blog.
Tips for keeping back pain at bay:
If you'd like to talk more about how acupuncture could help you, get in touch. Thanks for reading!