When we understand how sciatica happens, we begin to see why acupuncture is so effective in treating it. As you may know, sciatica is a symptom caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve, resulting in pain down the side or back of the foot as far down as the calf or even ankle. This pressure usually comes from a combination of different factors
1) Spasms various muscles to sciatic nerve runs through the squeeze nerve (ESP the piriformis muscle) … There are also muscle spasms near the spine and increase the pressure by any bulging close disk.
2) Inflammation causes more stress and irritation of the sciatic nerve.
3). A herniated disk, osteoarthritis, or other problems with the structure of the spine, putting pressure on the nerves that come together to form the sciatic nerve.
Acupuncture is effective in solving the first two causes of sciatica. However, even when a herniated disc case, acupuncture can relieve secondary inflammation and muscle spasms, and pressure can usually be reduced enough to relieve the pain completely.
A bulging disc pressing on nerves makes nerves more sensitive. If these same nerves even more pressure from tight muscles, sciatica pain is created. Muscle tension is like “hey, that breaks the camel’s back”. So, while acupuncture can not turn a bulging disk, it can reduce pain and more importantly cervical muscles, which escalated the pressure on the nerves and create work in the first place.