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Sciatica


Sciatic pain is very common with possibly up to four in 10 people having experienced it.1

Sciatica is characterized by pain that starts in the lower back or buttock and travels into one or both legs. Sciatic nerve pain often varies in its intensity and frequency, however usually there will be a component of sharp, jabbing or “electric shock” pains that radiate into the legs. Sciatica pain is also commonly associated with burning, numbness and tingling sensations. Muscle weakness is another frequent symptom of sciatica that requires careful monitoring.

Typically, sciatica is made worse by bending, lifting, sneezing and coughing.

Sciatica is a common problem for manual workers, sedentary office workers, drivers and is particularly prevalent during pregnancy.2

Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica nerve pain is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve – a very large nerve that originates from the lower lumbar spine and travels through the buttock into the leg as far as the back of the knee.

Pressure on the Sciatic nerve can result from a number of reasons including:
  • piriformis syndrome (tightness of the piriformis muscle in the buttock that
    compresses the sciatic nerve)
  • herniated disc, disc prolapse
  • spinal misalignments, vertebral dysfunction
  • herniated disc, disc prolapse
  • osteoarthritis
  • poor posture – wearing high heels, prolonged sitting, poor mattress
  • poor lifting technique and poor bending habits
  • spinal compressions due to osteoporosis

Causes of Sciatica

Since there are many disorders that can cause sciatica, your Acupuncturists’ first task is to determine the basis of your sciatic nerve interference.

Acupuncture treatment at Acu-ease always begins with a thorough history and musculoskeletal examination. Imaging investigations such as X-ray, CT or MRI may also be required to accurately assess your sciatica. If required you will be referred to your GP for these.