How Effective is Acupuncture for Sciatica?

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  • Written By: Misty Wiser
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2019
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Acupuncture for sciatica leg and buttock pain has become popular with many people who are unable to get relief from traditional medicine. When suffering from the debilitating pain of sciatica, most people will try anything to get relief. Sometimes conventional medicine is unable to effectively treat this painful condition, and physicians might recommend surgery as a last resort. As an alternative to surgery, numerous people have tried acupuncture for treating sciatica pain and numbness. Many acupuncture practices report a 90 percent success rate in relieving the pain of sciatica.

Acupuncture for sciatica has been shown to significantly decrease the amount of pain that is experienced daily. Some people still require the use of anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, but they typically report a decrease in the dosage needed to relieve their symptoms, protecting the liver from the lasting harm of long-term use of analgesics. Acupuncture treatment along with a balanced exercise program to increase the support of the muscles around the sciatic nerve is the most effective at relieving pain over the long term.


Before beginning an acupuncture regimen for sciatica, the acupuncturist will consult with the person needing pain relief. The acupuncturist will need to know about any other existing health conditions and the length of time that the person has been experiencing sciatica pain. He or she will need to know whether the pain began after an injury, such as one suffered in a car accident, or whether the pain was first noticeable intermittently after certain activities, such as sports or sitting for long periods of time. Regular appointments for acupuncture therapy have relieved sciatic pain that had these origins.

After the consultation, the acupuncturist will insert very thin needles along specific points in the body that correspond to the areas that he or she determines are the cause of the sciatica pain. The needles can be further manipulated after insertion to intensify the beneficial action of the acupuncture for sciatica. The insertion of the needles should not be painful, and sciatica pain relief can begin immediately. Most people report a decrease in sciatica pain within two hours of treatment.

Long-term maintenance appointments are recommended to ensure that the pain and numbness typical of sciatica does not return. Most acupuncturists will also advise starting an exercise program and changes in the eating habits of clients, because the goal of treatment is the overall health and well-being of the body. Receiving acupuncture for sciatica pain relief has been noted as being successful by the majority of those who enter treatment. Some people have reported a complete absence of sciatica pain after 10-20 treatments.


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Post 4

In the UK, acupuncture is recognized as a treatment for back pain by the NHS. People generally report good pain relief, better sleep and so forth, and in the case of sciatica this can help with getting mobile again.

Post 3

Acupuncture works as a sciatica treatment but it takes several sessions to start seeing results and the effects go away when the treatment is stopped. So it's a temporary fix, it's not a cure.

Post 2

@SarahGen-- I've been getting acupuncture therapy for my sciatica for a few months and I have seen a huge difference. My pain and discomfort has lessened about fifty percent, which was something that even medications couldn't do. I plan on continuing with this treatment.

You should speak to a qualified acupuncturist about your condition. He or she can tell you how much benefit you may get out of the sessions.

As far as I know, acupuncture needles work by releasing pressure in areas that sciatica affects. When the pressure is removed from those nerves, sciatica symptoms like nerve pain, numbness, tingling, etc. decrease.

I also believe that acupuncture improves blood circulation and helps damaged nerves heal. Acupuncture needles can also activate the pain relieving response that already exist in our body and act like a pain reliever.

Post 1

I've been hearing about acupuncture being used for more and more ailments. How exactly does acupuncture relieve sciatic nerve pain? I understand that tiny needles are inserted but what do those needles do?

Has anyone here gotten acupuncture therapy for their sciatica? Was it successful?

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