We have all had a bout of sudden hip pain now and again. You know the kind: pain that feels like its in the hip or lower back and sometimes shoots down the leg. If it’s once or twice only we don’t think too much about it, but if it becomes chronic then what do we do about it?
This chronic pain that goes from the lower back, across the back of the hip and down the back or side of the leg is sciatica. It is different from localized pain at the hip joint or inflammation around the joint itself. Sciatica tends to have a shooting or burning quality to it, though in its milder forms it can be a dull persistent ache. The pain is caused by irritation or pinching of the sciatic nerve, which is a thick and long nerve that comes from the last three lumbar vertebrae and the first sacral vertebra (L3 through S1) – basically your entire lower back. Most often this pinching happens when muscles or connective tissue around the nerve are tight or constricted.
Acupuncture treats sciatica by helping to loosen and open up the connective tissue around the nerve. We have stressed the importance of movement before and how the fascial system helps keep us mobile. Acupuncture helps to manually loosen connective tisuse and fascia so that you can move more easily & without pain, when stretching or trying to gain mobility manually would be hard. We have also talked about the benefits of acupuncture for muscle pain in general – when using acupuncture for sciatca we are treating the muscles around the nerve in much the same way. By helping to relieve the constriction around the nerve and reduce inflammation, pain is stopped right in its tracks.
So does it work? Yes! Research on acupuncture for sciatica shows that it is as least as effective as other forms of treatment, with certain types of acupuncture outperforming nerve blocks or injections. Because acupuncture works at least as well, if not better, than other options and has significantly less side effects, it should be anyone’s first treatment of choice when dealing with chronic pain.
If you’re suffering from sciatica or chronic hip pain of any kind and have been looking for options, consider acupuncture for yourself. You can schedule your consultation today.