by Summer Nemri

Sciatica is a set of symptoms caused by the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the body and runs down the lower back to the legs. When there’s impingement in the nerve, you may feel shooting pain all the way down to the ankles. Most commonly it is felt running down the back or side of the leg to the knee or ankle. This pain can be very debilitating, as it causes weakness in the legs making walking, standing or even sitting intolerable. So what can acupuncture do to help?

As mentioned above, when compressed, the sciatic nerve is felt in the low back and either down the side or back of the leg. When we perform acupuncture, we focus our treatment on the two channels that run in these areas, namely the urinary bladder channel and the gall bladder channel. With acupuncture, we are able to assist the relaxation of the muscles surrounding the nerve, allowing for the area of compression to let go and keep from spasming. In most cases, the muscles are often very tight, protecting the nerve. Also, you will find yourself compensating and using other muscles to avoid adding more pressure to the affected area which creates further imbalance.

The urinary bladder channel moves through the low back, at active pressure points along the site of where the sciatic nerve exits the spine. Furthermore, patients often feel pain and soreness at a point in the middle of the buttocks where you’ll find a strong acupuncture pressure point on the gall bladder channel. Because these two acupuncture channels run down the exact path of the nerve, treatment can be very effective in relieving pain and reestablishing normal gait and movement. For severe cases, you will want to get 2-3 treatments per week for 2-3 weeks the fastest effect. After you begin to improve treatment frequency will decrease.

Helpful take home tips:

– Try taking a warm bath with Epsom salts. This will help further relax your muscles.

– I love this product called CALM. It is a calcium-magnesium powder you mix with hot or cold water and drink. It is tasty and relaxes muscles and relieves pain. You can find it at most super supplement stores.

– Take a fish oil supplement. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids helpful in decreasing inflammation. You can bet there’s inflammation when dealing with sciatic nerve pain. I like the liquid form the best if you don’t mind the oil. Carlson brand makes a good product made with lemon or orange. Lemon is my preferred choice, it masks the fishy taste really well I promise!! Take 1 TBSP 2 times/day. Also found at most health food stores and super supplement stores.

– Have a helpful friend massage magnesium oil into your lower back. The spray is great! Order online or find at PCC stores around Seattle

– Acupuncture works great together with chiropractic and massage for sciatica

– Our doctors can help you establish a gentle stretching sequence to keep you active, loose and open

– Don’t wait on getting treatment, the sooner you get in the sooner you’ll be feeling better!


Call Midway Chiropractic at 206-824-9500 to set up an appointment today!

Summer is available for acupuncture Wednesday and Friday 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm and Saturday 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.

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