Sciatica is pain resulting from irritation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica pain is typically felt from the low back to behind the thigh and radiating down below the knee. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and begins from nerve roots in the lumbar spinal cord in the low back and extends through the buttock area to send nerve endings down the lower limb.
While sciatica is most commonly a result of a disc herniation directly pressing on the nerve, any cause of irritation or inflammation of this nerve can reproduce the symptoms of sciatica. These causes include irritation of the nerve from adjacent bone, tumors, muscle, internal bleeding, infections, injury, and other causes.
Sciatica can refer to pain that radiates anywhere down the leg. The cause of the pain may lie in the leg itself or often more commonly is caused by problems in the lower back.
By carefully examining the location of the pain, the nature of the pain (whether it is sharp or dull) and what factors can aggravate or relieve it, an appropriate diagnosis and treatment can be administered.
Acupuncture works by invigorating the flow of qi and blood throughout the area in order to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and promote the body’s own healing ability. Acupuncture can work to anaesthetize the area and reduce nerve sensitivity. With associated techniques of electro-acupuncture and cupping, the best results can often be achieved.