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Sciatica

sciatic-pain-2.pngTraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) states that the body is interconnected; no one part can be separated from another. The diagnosis and treatment is based upon identifying specific imbalances in the body as a whole. Correcting the imbalance does not just treat the symptoms or mask the condition, but rather corrects the root of the problem by encouraging self-healing of the body.

Qi and Blood Stagnation with Kidney Deficiency Causing Sciatica

 Sciatica occurs when something pushes on the sciatic nerve. This can be a muscle spasm, the spinal discs, and sometimes even the spine itself. Most often this pain is due to muscle spasms or a slipped disc associated with lower back pain. Spinal Disc herniation or subluxation, often referred to as a slipped disc, is when a small portion of the spinal disc bulges out of the spinal column. This disc then pushes on the sciatic nerve causing pain. Kidney Deficient sciatica would have lower back pain radiating down the back of the leg.

Qi and Blood Stagnation with Wood Element Imbalance Causing Sciatica

wood-acu-stick.pngThe most common imbalance in acute sciatica is Qi Stagnation and Blood Stagnation of the Gall Bladder channel. This is often caused by long standing Liver Qi Stagnation, or a Wood Element imbalance according Chinese medicine. This type of sciatica would likely include pain that radiates down the side of the leg, possibly in to the little toe. Neck stiffness and headaches are also common with this type of sciatica. 

An effective course of TCM therapy may include acupuncture, cupping, electric stimulation, and tai-qi. Overall, the treatment should relax and stretch the tendons and fascia while strengthening the muscles. This will help release the spastic muscles and strengthen them, allowing the back to naturally heal. It can even encourage an out of place disc to go back into place, depending on severity.

Technically, sciatica is not a disease, but a group of symptoms that affect the region of the sciatic nerve. Radiating pain is one of the more common and intense symptoms associated with sciatica. There can also be numbness and tingling starting in the lower back radiating down the leg and sometimes into the ankle and foot.

After the pain is gone, it is important for you to properly maintain your back. This includes stretching, yoga, tai chi, and/or weight training. Once the back is back to its correct position and you are feeling healthy it is important to do something to maintain it.