Michael Domeny DNP-c, FNP, MS, L.Ac, CD/N,
Licensed Nutritionist, Licensed Acupuncturist
Board certified Herbalist,
Family Nurse Practitioner
Sciatica is one of the three main clinical manifestations of lower- back pain. The other two are pain caused by spinal stenosis and non specific back pain symptoms that are often related to problems with various back muscles. The term “sciatica” is used to describe number of disorders directly or indirectly affecting the sciatic nerve. Patients with sciatica often feel pain along the anatomic path of the sciatic nerve and its branches: along the lumbar spine through the gluteal area, down along the back of the leg and calf to the sole of the foot or the big toe. The pain can be constant or intermittent.
Because of its significant size and length (it is the biggest nerve in our body), the sciatic nerve is subject to many types of injuries and inflammations. For example, sciatic pain can be caused by a herniated disk, arthritis of the spine, and pressure on the nerve from certain types of exertions. The sciatic nerve also can be damaged by toxic substances such as led or alcohol. Occasionally diseases such as diabetes mellitus, gout, or vitamin deficiency contribute to sciatic pain.
In the majority of sciatica cases, where
pain and inflammation are caused by soft tissue injury, acupuncture treatment
produces the optimum pain relief by reducing the inflammation of nerves and
muscle. Nerve inflammation is liable to cause pain in the muscles it innervates.
Needling and its resulting lesions activate an anti-inflammatory reaction that
reduces nerve sensitization. Needling also relaxes the painful muscles and
increases blood circulation. The general effect of the acupuncture needling is
to reduce the inflammation of nerves, muscles, and other soft tissues, and this
result in relief from the pain of sciatica.