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Sciatica pain presentations are usually characterised by one or more of the following:

  • Constant pain in only one side of the buttock region or leg (often sciatica will only travel down one leg at a time). 
  • Hip or buttock pain that is worse with sitting down. 
  • Pain that radiates down the leg, calf and in severe cases the foot and toes. 
  • Sharp pain that is worse with standing up. 
  • Numbness, tingling or a burning sensation down the leg. 
  • Difficulties moving or raising the leg or foot or a noticeable amount of weakness upon movement. 
  • Pain aggravated by coughing or sneezing. 
  • Bowel or bladder changes.


What is the sciatica nerve? 

The sciatica nerve runs from the lower back through the buttock region and down the back of each leg. It is the largest single nerve in the body made up of individual nerve roots stemming from the lumbar region, branching out from the spine, before forming the ‘sciatic nerve’. In the lumbar vertebrae spine, nerve roots exit from inside the spinal canal and then each retrospective nerve root then comes together to form the large sciatic nerve. 


What causes Sciatic Nerve Pain 

  • Irritation or compression of the nerve or near the nerve origin. 
  • Herniated disc or bone spur. 
  • Current or previous injuries to the hips or lower back. 
  • Pregnancy Sciatic pain can appear due to structural changes to support the growth of the baby. These changes may pinch or irritate the nerve or discs.  
  • Pressure on the spine from a tumour. 
  • Obesity or overweight. 
  • Occupational movements i.e lifting heavy loads incorrectly or twisting in certain positions or prolonged sitting. 
  • Chronic conditions can be seen in diabetic patients due to nerve damage.  


Have you tried acupuncture for pain relief? 

If you have any of the following signs or symptoms or have a history off sciatic pain affecting your general wellbeing or interfering with your everyday living, feel free to contact our clinic.

We will gladly discuss our treatment strategy with you to help reduce the severity of pain that you may have now, or discuss methods of treatment that may be able to help prevent future onsets, before the pain becomes a debilitating problem. In conjunction with usual medical care that you may be seeking, acupuncture can be very effective for natural pain relief, which may result in the reduction of using opioid or pain relief medications.



Acupuncture for Sciatica: 

  • Lewis 2015 (Network MA of 21 interventions): Acupuncture ranked 2nd out of 21 interventions for global effect and effect on overall pain intensity (1)
  • Qin 2015 (SR & MA of 11 RCTs; 10 acupuncture vs medications; 1 acupuncture vs sham): Acupuncture may be superior to drugs and may enhance the effect of drugs for patients with sciatica; low quality evidence (2). 
  • Ji 2015 (SR of 12 RCTs): Acupuncture superior to conventional Western medicine in outcomes effectiveness, pain intensity and pain threshold; low quality evidence (3).

Reference List: 

  1. Lewis RA, Williams NH, Sutton AJ, Burton K, Din NU, Matar HE, et al. Comparative clinical effectiveness of management strategies for sciatica: systematic review and network meta-analyses. Spine J. 2015 Jun 1;15(6):1461-77.
  2. Qin Z, Liu X, Wu J, Zhai Y, Liu Z. Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Treating Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:425108.
  3. Ji M, Wang X, Chen M, Shen Y, Zhang X, Yang J. The Efficacy of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Sciatica: A Systematic Review.