Sciatica can literally be a huge pain in the butt! It is the largest nerve in the body, which consists of a large bundle of smaller nerves that begin in the lumbar spine, travel down the buttocks, and move through the leg. Radiating pain is one of the more common and intense symptoms associated with sciatica. There can also be numbness and tingling starting in the lower back radiating down the leg.
The symptoms occur when something pushes on the sciatic nerve. This can be a muscle spasm, the spinal discs, and sometimes even the spine itself. Most often this pain is due to muscle spasms or a slipped disc, but it can also be a sign of serious illness and it is important to go to you doctor for a diagnosis.
Sciatic can also be a result of an injury, sedentary lifestyle, sitting all day at a desk or computer, drive for a living, and pregnancy.
How Does Chinese medicine view sciatica?
Chinese medicine views the body and mind as a whole. No one part can be separated from another. The diagnosis and treatment is based upon identifying specific imbalances in the muscles and the body. Correcting the imbalance does not just treat the symptoms or mask the condition, but rather corrects the root of the problem by encouraging self-healing of the body.
Treatment with Chinese Medicine
It is best to approach sciatica using combination style treatment. An effective therapy many include acupuncture, Tui Na (Chinese medical massage,) cupping, electric stimulation, and stretching. The back, hip, and pelvis are very interconnected and the treatment should incorporate all of them. Overall, the treatment should relax and stretch the tendons and fascia while strengthening the muscles. This will help release the spastic muscles and strengthen them, allowing the back to naturally heal. It can even encourage an out of place disc to go back into place, depending on severity.
Acupuncture will help to reprogram the muscles to stay relaxed. In effect, this is working to help the body heal itself. Chinese massage, or tui na, works to foster the acupuncture by releasing any extra tension in the fascia and connective tissue around the muscles. The technique called rolling is very important to deeply relax the muscles and improve circulation at the same time.
After the pain is gone, it is important for you to keep up you own back. Stretching is essential. Stretching will help keep the muscles healthy and relaxed. And it is the best way for you to maintain your own back. Also, doing tai chi, the Chinese exercise and meditation, is very effective to strengthen the lower back and relax it.
As an alternative to surgery, numerous people have tried acupuncture for treating sciatica pain and numbness. Many acupuncture practices report a 90 percent success rate in relieving the pain of sciatica. I can personally attest to a 90% success rate in my own acupuncture practice.
If you or anyone you know suffers from this debilitating syndrome, call me today to discuss a treatment!!!