Many of us refer to the ache or discomfort down our legs as ‘sciatica’ – and we’re probably right. The sciatica nerve runs from the lower back L4,L5,S1, S2 and S3, spreading out downwards through the buttocks into the leg. Any compression on this nerve can lead to all sorts of sensations in the bottom and leg and again these can range from agonising to a mild ache. Want to see a great image of the actual sciatic nerve location – click here.
If we are using the meridians to map the pain felt in sciatica we usually look to either the Bladder meridian or the Gall Bladder meridian. The Bladder meridian runs straight down the back either side of the spine and then mainly down the posterior aspect of the leg ending in the outer side of the foot. So for sciatica that seems originate in the lower back and travel down the back of the leg or towards the back of the knee we tend to choose points on on the Bladder channel.
For sciatica that seems to originate more in the buttocks and hip, and perhaps radiates down the side of the leg – it’s the Gallbladder channel. This meridian zig-zags across the sides of the body. You know those tender points in your buttocks if you’ve ever gone for a sports massage? Yup that’s probably right on those Gallbladder meridian points. Personally I find Tuina better than needles for getting into these sore spots.
Acupuncture is great for sciatica – less so when there is serious degenerative changes in the spine that are contributing to it. Better acupuncturists than me may disagree, but in my experience it’s tough to get total relief.
It’s particular good for overactive muscles – tight muscles, inflammation, soreness and aching in the back. Although acupuncture may provide you with pain relief you will still need to follow some exercises to prevent re-occurrence.