Suffer from debilitating sciatica pain? We have the solution. Read below for some helpful hints to get started on your healing journey.
If you suffer from sciatic pain or know someone who does, you know how debilitating it can be.
Why is it so painful?
The sciatic nerve is one of the main nerves to fuel the lower limbs and exists the spine in the lower back. The nerve itself is very large and when irritated or impinged can trigger radiating pain down the lower back to the sole of the foot. The pain is often associated with numbness, tingling, sharpness, and weakness in the affected leg.
The irritation can lead to pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve, and it can also create a lack of muscle power to the legs and cause sensations in the legs, buttocks and low back to change.
Current statistics show that up to 10 percent of the population between the ages of 25 to 45 are dealing with or have experienced sciatic pain. The cause can be from muscle spasms, spinal disc compression or slipped spinal discs.
How does acupuncture view sciatica?
In traditional Chinese medical theory, blood stagnation is the most common cause of sciatica. Blood stagnation can affect the soft tissue of the lumbar spine, hips and pelvis. This is what causes the muscles to spasm, then creating extra tension that triggers the shooting pain associated with sciatica.
Traditional Chinese medicine suggests several treatment modalities for managing sciatica.
Acupuncture for sciatica:
Many studies have shown acupuncture is more effective at relieving the pain, numbness and tingling associated with sciatica than modern medicinal treatments. Acupuncture treatments can help to reprogram the muscles to stay in a relaxed position. Acupuncture can also help treat sciatica by releasing natural painkillers like endorphins from the brain to reduce pain.
Acupuncture points for sciatica:
Urinary bladder 23:
UB23 is located on the lower back, halfway between the lowest ribs and the hip bone and on either side of the muscle group that runs right up the spine. This acupuncture point reduces muscle tension and provides relief from low-back pain.
Urinary bladder 40:
UB40 is located directly in the middle of the crease at the back of each knee. This acu-point treats all the major pain sensations felt along the spine. It also helps to control muscle spasms, knee stiffness, arthritis, leg pain and it helps to dissipate excess heat trapped in the body.
Urinary bladder 62:
This point is located just below the ankle bone on the outer side of each ankle. It is great for relieving lumbar spine tension as well as anxiety.
Dietary and Lifestyle Recommendations for Sciatica:
Adding potassium to your diet can help you heal from sciatica. Bananas, oranges, potatoes and spirulina are all good sources of potassium. Dark, leafy vegetables and legumes, such as black beans, kidney beans and soybeans are also beneficial when dealing with sciatica. Avoid foods that create dampness in the body, such as spicy, greasy or fried foods and dairy.
Incorporating daily exercise and stretching into your life can also help. The low back and lumbar spine may become weak if they are neglected, so sitting for long periods of time without getting up can be very detrimental. This also has a way of weakening the muscles of the lumbar area, which then can lead to slipped discs. Stretching and moving throughout the day, even after the pain has subsided, is vital to a healthy back.
If you suffer from chronic pain, please give our office a call today, (425) 686-4498 to see how we can help!
Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist in Bothell, WA at her practice Starting Point Acupuncture. Our clinic specializes in hard to treat cases such as neuropathy, fibromyalgia, failed back surgery, sciatica, migraines, and infertility. Dr. Ellie Heintze is also the author of the books, A Starting Point Guide to Going Gluten-Free and Keep Calm and Zen Out, available now on Amazon.
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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc
- Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
- Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
- Master’s Degree in Chemistry
Northern Arizona University
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