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Treating Sciatic Pain through Eastern Medicine & Acupuncture

by Stacy Lauren-Kon, Lac MSOM

What exactly is Sciatic Pain? Sciatic Pain can present in a few different ways, mainly Sciatic Pain is an ache or stabbing pain that starts in the lower back or upper buttocks region and radiants either down the back, side or front of the leg to the knee and sometimes down to the toes. The pain that travels down the leg could be a sensation of weakness, numbness, or an electrical shock-like sensation. These symptoms may be a sign of a herniated disk or simply the side effect of sitting too much – all placing pressure on the sciatic nerve. 

Treating Sciatic Pain through Eastern Medicine & Acupuncture, Mend Family Acupuncture and Healthcare in Los Angeles, CA

Most people go to the ER, Urgent Care, or their General MD for help and are surprised that there is not much offered other than prescribed steroids, Gabapentin, or NSAIDS and told to rest. With severe cases, steroid injections are offered. Some patients do experience some relief from Western Medicine but more often than not they continue to seek help elsewhere.

As we are all getting back to heavier work schedules after Covid, we are all sitting and driving much more than we have in the past few years. Sitting is a major contribution to this disorder. Mend gets calls several times a week from desperate patients asking if Eastern Medicine and Acupuncture can offer help. The answer is YES! And while I do not have a magic wand, treating Sciatic Pain is one of my favorite treatments to perform on patients because the results are sometimes so immediate. It is a joy to see the look of relief on patient's faces when they walk out my door. 

Stacy Lauren-Kon offers Acupuncture, Cupping, Facials, Weight Loss in Los Angeles, CA

So what does Acupuncture and its accompanying modalities (Cupping, Tui Na Massage, Physical Adjustments, Moxa, and E-stim) do for Sciatic Pain?

  • It relaxes tight muscles that may be compressing the nerve;
  • It increases blood flow or blood circulation for quicker, more complete healing;
  • It reduces inflammation;
  • It decreases pressure on nerves;
  • It stimulates the nervous system to release endorphins and other biochemical that ease the severity of pain; and 
  • It promotes regeneration of the sciatic nerve;

Most patients who come in for a Sciatic Pain treatment will lie face down on the treatment table with their face in a cushioned cradle. The Distal Acupuncture points for sciatic pain are located on the arms, hands, calf, ankles, and the gallbladder and bladder meridians in the feet. Needles are also placed in “Ai Shi” points and “Trigger Points” which are more local to the pain. And often I like to add E-Stim (Electronic Stimulation) to the treatment to help with nerve conduction and inflammation. No part of this treatment is painful in any way. You will fell a gentle massaging sensation from the inside out.

After the 28 minute Acupuncture Treatment (28 minutes is how long it takes for your body's energy, or Qi, to circulate throughout your body) I then like to do some Tui Na Massage and Adjustments on the affected region to bring the skeletal structure into alignment and relieve pressure off of the nerve. When the patient is dressed and off the table we then go over some Therapeutic Exercises that they can do at home to further the process of healing. 

Mend Family Acupuncture and Healthcare in Los Angeles, CA

I also send my patients home with Chinese Herbs that additionally reduces inflammation, decreases pain, increases blood flow to the specific region, and keep muscles loose and pliable.

Each patient that comes into Mend is treated individually based on their specific constitution, symptoms and needs. But the above is a good idea of what you can expect when you come in for a treatment.

Please feel free to give me a call to discuss your issue and we can plan a treatment protocol for you to reduce your pain and get you back to a better normal. 

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