Acupuncture For Sciatica
The sciatic nerve is the longest and most influential nerve in the body, running down the spinal column into and along both legs. Sciatica itself is not a disease but a symptom, involving pain along the sciatic nerve or in specific places along its path that cannot be directly linked to obvious injury or illness. Many cases of severe sciatica are related to spinal degenerative problems and minor injury responses such as damaged discs or cartilage and the related swelling, or bone problems in the spine. There can be, however, many causes of sciatica and often the actual cause is never discovered.
Pain medications can have limited effects on sciatica, and there are a few herbal alternative remedies which have some reported success but little true scientific study as yet. One of the more promising and more frequently used treatments is acupuncture.
What does acupuncture do for sciatica?
Acupuncture has been used to treat pain for more than four millennia in Asia, and since the 1970s has become more and more popular in the west. The traditional explanation of how it works fundamentally is that by stimulating certain points around the body (which are all mapped out in considerable detail) the flow of energy (Chi) around the body can be restored allowing the body to regain balance and thus ‘wellness’. Scientific attempts to understand how acupuncture works have so far been largely unsuccessful, although studies are almost unanimous in stating that it actually does work. The generally accepted theory is that nerve impulses which control chemical reactions in different parts of the body can be blocked, corrupted or misdirected, causing chemical imbalances in certain tissue cells and organs. The acupuncture process is thought to facilitate these nerve ‘messages’, allowing the body chemistry to start functioning properly in the appropriate areas.
Practically no side effects
Used particularly to treat sciatica, acupuncture has achieved good results without significant side effects in many cases. One group of patients who have to be careful if considering acupuncture are pregnant women, as certain acupuncture points could cause womb contractions at an inappropriate time. As with all medical treatment, pregnant women should consult a physician before taking any unnecessary risk.
Low cost and instant results
Apart from certain patients suffering from lymphatic system problems, there are few other reasons not to try acupuncture for sciatica. It has an instant effect, so results are easy to recognise, and the relative low cost of acupuncture and almost complete lack of side effects make it a sensible course of action for any sciatica sufferer, especially if conventional treatments seem ineffective.
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