Sciatica can often feel like a deep pain that starts in your low back or buttocks and radiates down the back of your thigh, sometimes it can even cause pain all the way down your leg and into your foot, making every step and movement excruciating. Traditional Chinese Medicine may have some very effective options for treating and preventing sciatica — possibly even better than modern Western medicine.
The sciatic nerves are the largest nerves in your body. They start in your low lumbar spine and travel down through the buttocks, the leg, and all the way through the soles of your feet and your toes. At its largest, the sciatic nerve is roughly the diameter of a pen.
Sciatica happens when the nerve itself or a root that forms the nerve becomes pinched. This is usually the result of a ruptured or slipped disk in the back that puts pressure on the nerve or root, causing pain to radiate down some or all of the sciatic nerve. Osteoarthritis can also contribute to sciatica by narrowing the exit from the lower spine through which the nerve passes. As a result, sciatica is more common in older adults.
Prevention is always the best medicine, and risk factors can give you an idea of things you may need to change to prevent sciatica.
If you work at a desk or sit for many hours a day, you may be at higher risk for sciatica. Remember to get up, move around, and stretch frequently.
If you’re overweight, you run a greater risk of experiencing sciatica. Exercise and healthy eating can help prevent a myriad of health issues, including sciatica.
Like many other maladies, smoking increases your risk of sciatica. Quitting can help you stave off the chances.
A review of the efficacy of acupuncture in treating sciatica showed promising results. One study showed a 94% improvement after only four treatments. Another study showed 72% cured and a 7.1% marked improvement.