Sciatica Treatment: About
Sciatica refers to pain that radiates down the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest and thickest single nerve in the human body, with a diameter of less than 2.5 cm at its widest. It originates from the lower lumbosacral region of the spine and extends all the way down the back of the legs to the foot. The sciatic nerve is made up of the fourth and fifth lumbar nerve and the first three nerves in the sacrum.
Sciatic pain characteristically radiates down only one leg, starting posteriorly from the buttocks to the back of the thigh, to the popliteal fossa, posterior side of the lower leg to the lateral side of the foot. However, the location of the pain will vary going down the thigh, either posteriorly, laterally, or medially, depending the location of the nerve irritation.
The cause of sciatica is often due to the pinching of one or more of the nerves leaving the spinal cord between L3 and S3. This starts when there is temporary prolapse or protrusion of the lumbosacral disc that causes the compression of these nerves.
Sciatica Treatment: Western Medicine
Western medical sciatica treatment involves taking pain-killers, avoiding activities that aggravate the spine, and bed rest. Emotional stress, especially job dissatisfaction, has been associated with sciatica. Surgery is often performed in cases where treatment is ineffective and is often the last resort for sciatica treatment as scar formation can lead to protracted complications.
Sciatica Treatment: Chinese Medicine
In Chinese medicine, sciatic pain is differentiated into three types:
1. Due to Wind-Cold-Damp Bi obstruction, which obstruction(s) the meridian(s) down the lower limb, leading to pain that is aggravated by cold or damp weather, and a poor diet. Often the pain is better for the application of heat to the sore area.
2. Due to deficiency of the Liver and Kidneys, or generally due to a deficiency of Qi, Blood, Yin and Yang. This type of sciatica is often exacerbated by fatigue, lack of rest and sleep. This kind of pain is often worse at night or the evening.
3. Due to muscular and structural tension, which is often worse when sitting or lying still.
Sciatica treatment involves unblocking Qi and Blood stagnation, nourishing Yin and toning Yang with the combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine that addresses the internal disharmony.