Sciatica can be completely cured, this is a fact, it may not be a medical fact according to some Western Doctors, but it is a fact according to Chinese medicine. When your doctor tells you there is no
cure or no treatment for sciatica, what he really means is that he and his Western medicine do not have a cure or a treatment, it does not mean that a treatment or a cure does not exist! When your doctor throws anti-inflammatories at you or tells you to just go home and rest or to go and change your job, then this is just his way of fobbing you off, sometimes he may send you for an x-ray or a scan so he can tell you even more bad news with something seen that may or may not be true. But still, no treatment? So what is going on here, loads of tests X rays, scans, but still no treatment? Well lucky for us we have the ancient healing modality that is Acupuncture, the amount of people I have treated successfully for this condition over the years has been vast, the amount of people I have prevented from further degeneration and surgery has also been vast. This is great news for all those people out there who are needlessly suffering simply because they are being given the run around by their doctor or sent to a physiotherapist, which is a lot of cases that make the problem worse. To all you physiotherapists out there sciatica does not need exercise it NEEDS TREATMENT! and REST! FULL STOP!
Sciatica is a general term for pain along the sciatic nerve. It is usually a sharp pain or a dull constant ache and is sometimes described as an electrical-like shock or numbness running down the back or side of the leg. The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest nerve in the body-measuring three-quarters of an inch in diameter. The sciatic nerve originates in the lower back and its nerve branches enable movement and feeling (motor and sensory functions) in the thigh, knee, calf, ankle, foot, and toes.
If the nerve is compressed, caused by conditions such as a bulging or herniated disc also commonly known as a slipped disc then intense pain can travel along any part of the sciatic nerve pathway – from the buttocks to the toes. This can be caused by injury to the back through inflexibility, to begin with, and then sudden movement or exercise can pull on the back compressing the vertebrae, which in turn compresses the discs that lie between them. If the spine becomes overly strained or compressed, a disc may rupture or bulge outward. A slipped disc can happen anywhere in the spine, and surprisingly, a slipped disc does not actually slip. Instead, the disc, which is located between the bones of the spine (vertebrae), bulges out, splits or ruptures. When this happens, the inner gel-like substance (nucleus pulposus), leaks out and the bulging disc puts pressure on the sciatic nerve causing the associated pain down the leg.
Yoga and Tai Chi are excellent ways to keep flexibility maintained in the back, but only after treatment. People who sit at a desk, and there are many these days, should be mindful of undertaking regular yoga-type exercises to counteract the build-up of stiffness that constant sitting will produce. There are special air cushions available now that you can sit on, these work by you have to constantly keep your balance thereby keeping the back in a state of constant slight movement which although no substitute for flexibility exercises, will maintain some sort of movement and flexibility in that area all the while you are sitting, getting up periodically to walk around your office is also a good strategy to keep the back mobilised. There are also special postural chairs available that you can sit in and your knees will take some of the weight of your back correcting your posture as well.
Not all sciatica can be simply put down to a slipped disc; it can come from inflammation and strain of your Sacroiliac joint. That’s the joint where your hip meets the spine. The pain can originate from the left or right of the spine itself and not necessarily from the center of the back. This type of sciatica is, in my opinion, a lot less severe than the one coming from the center of the spine itself. Sacroiliac joint sciatica is also much more easily treated and recovers quite quickly with acupuncture treatment. Sacroiliac joint pain can also originate from pain caused by the Piriformis muscle that may be in spasm, inflamed, or irritated. This muscle is in your buttock and lies right on top of the sciatic nerve as it exits the spine and goes down your leg. As you can imagine, if this muscle is having a problem it will cause pressure on the nerve giving you the sciatica-like symptoms.
In my clinics, I see and treat both types of sciatica on a regular basis and I have to say no two of them are the same and in keeping to the edicts of Chinese medicine every patient gets treated differently according to their particular type of sciatica. I find this problem responds really well with regular acupuncture and especially electro-acupuncture treatment, but the patient must adhere strictly to the advice I give them and they must expect to have a least at the minimum between 12 and 15 treatments once or twice per week according to the severity of the problem. I find electrical stimulation of the acupuncture points absolutely essential in nearly every case of sciatica.