British Acupuncture Council

Sciatica

Sciatica occurs if a nerve in the back is pinched or irritated, leading pain to spread to the buttocks and thighs. Sciatica can occur on its own or linked to low back pain (lumbago).

Acupuncture treatment involves an examination of the low back, buttock and thigh through palpation and focussed massage.  In addition to acupuncture, treatment may also involve the use of moxa, cupping and electro-acupuncture, depending on the condition and muscle groups involved.  Lifestyle advice may be given to help aid recovery.

Treatment for acute cases may involve twice weekly sessions.  For more chronic or recurring cases, weekly or fortnightly sessions are recommended until symptoms are relieved.  Many people find that occasional ‘maintenance’ treatments (once every 4-6 weeks) help to minimise the reoccurrence of sciatica (and low back pain). 

In May 2009 NICE guidelines recommended acupuncture for low back pain within the NHS.

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