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Acupuncturists Explain How To Relieve Sciatica Pain


Can individuals dealing with sciatica pain find the relief they need from acupuncture to restore low back mobility?


The body’s lower extremities provide stability and movement to the individual as they are moving from one location to another without pain or discomfort. The lower extremities consist of the hips, lower back, legs, thighs, pelvis, knees, and feet; each has various muscles, nerve roots, and ligaments with a specific job to each muscle quadrant. The spinal column in the musculoskeletal system helps provide proper posture while protecting the spinal cord from injuries. However, more often than not, the lower extremities can succumb to injuries as many individuals incorporate repetitive motions that can compress the nerve roots that are spread out to the lower extremities, which can invoke pain. The most common pain that seems to affect the lower back and legs is sciatica, and when not treated, it can cause overlapping risk profiles to the lower extremities. Today’s article examines how sciatica is correlated with the lower back and how non-surgical treatments can help reduce the effects of sciatic pain. We talk with certified medical providers who consolidate our patients’ information to provide numerous treatments to relieve sciatica pain affecting their lower extremities. We also inform and guide patients on how non-surgical treatments can help reduce sciatica pain from the lower musculoskeletal extremities. We encourage our patients to ask their associated medical providers intricated and important questions about the pain-like symptoms they are experiencing from sciatica that are causing them pain. Dr. Jimenez, D.C., incorporates this information as an academic service. Disclaimer.


How Does Sciatica Correlate With The Lower Back?

Do you often experience numb or tingling sensations running down your leg that cause your leg or foot to lose sensation briefly? Do you feel shooting pain in your lower back after excessive sitting at your desk? Or do you find that stretching your legs or back temporarily relieves the pain, only for it to come back? Many individual who are experiencing shooting pain running down their legs are dealing with sciatica. When it comes to the lower extremities in the musculoskeletal system, many individuals make repetitive motions on their spine that can cause the spinal discs to become compressed and herniated under pressure. When the spinal disc is herniated in the lumbar spine, that disc will start to press on the surrounding nerve roots, thus sending radiating pain down the legs. Sciatica is defined as when individuals are experiencing pain coming from the lumbosacral nerve root and causing either a burning, heaviness, or tightness sensation. (Aguilar-Shea et al., 2022) Sciatica can range from mild to severe, forcing many individuals to think their foot is asleep. However, the sciatic nerve root is compressed, trapped, stuck, or pinched, which causes muscle spasms within the lower back, buttock, or legs. Hence, many individuals will explain that they are experiencing low back or leg pain when it is sciatica. 



Since the sciatic nerve is a long, thick nerve in the human body, it travels from the lumbar region down to the knee and connects to other nerves to reach the foot. Sciatica pain can be two conditions with the same pain-like symptom effects known as true or sciatica-like conditions. True sciatica is where an injury is directly affecting the sciatic nerve. This can relate to a slipped disc caused by environmental factors like lifting a heavy object, aggravating the sciatic nerve root, and causing pain that worsens. (Siddiq et al., 2020) For sciatica-like conditions, this is where other musculoskeletal conditions are causing sciatic pain-like symptoms on the lower extremities. Musculoskeletal conditions like piriformis syndrome can cause sciatica pain-like symptoms where the piriformis muscle is irritated or inflamed, pressing on the sciatic nerve, which causes many people to report pain along the gluteal region that may shoot a burning, aching sensations down the back of the legs. (Hicks et al., 2024) However, there are ways to treat sciatica and reduce the pain-like effects causing mobility issues.


Sciatica, Causes, Symptoms and Tips- Video

Non-surgical Treatments For Sciatica

When it comes to reducing sciatica pain, many individuals will seek out treatment that is cost-effective and customized to the person’s pain. Some treatments, like neural mobilization, can apply mechanical forces to the nerve roots to restore healthy movement to the legs and lower extremities. (Peacock et al., 2023) Other treatments, like spinal decompression, use gentle traction on the spinal disc to lay off the pressure on the sciatic nerve to provide relief. Non-surgical treatments are favorable to many people due to how affordable it is and personalized to the person’s pain as they help reduce pain and disability. (Liu et al., 2023) Luckily, a form of non-surgical treatment can help relieve sciatica and its associated pain-like symptoms.


Acupuncture Relieving Sciatic Pain

Acupuncture is one of the oldest forms of non-surgical treatments in which trained professionals use thin, solid needles to be inserted and placed on the affected area, causing pain. Acupuncture can help reduce the distortion of the affected nerve roots, and local inflammatory cytokines correlated with sciatica. (Yu et al., 2021) What this does is that it normalizes the neuron signals to a default mode from aggravating the surrounding muscle fibers and descending the pain. Additionally, acupuncture can help restore the body’s qi or energy by reducing the pain by placing the needles on the acupoint of the vital organs that share a relationship with the sciatic nerve. (Yu et al., 2022) This is known as somato-visceral, where the vital organs could be the affected area, causing overlapping muscle and nerve risk profiles. Acupuncture is an excellent form of non-surgical treatment that can be combined with other various therapies to help restore the body’s natural healing factor and allow people to be more mindful of how to take care of their bodies easily to prevent sciatica pain-like symptoms from arising.



Aguilar-Shea, A. L., Gallardo-Mayo, C., Sanz-Gonzalez, R., & Paredes, I. (2022). Sciatica. Management for family physicians. J Family Med Prim Care, 11(8), 4174-4179. doi.org/10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1061_21

Hicks, B. L., Lam, J. C., & Varacallo, M. (2024). Piriformis Syndrome. In StatPearls. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28846222

Liu, C., Ferreira, G. E., Abdel Shaheed, C., Chen, Q., Harris, I. A., Bailey, C. S., Peul, W. C., Koes, B., & Lin, C. C. (2023). Surgical versus non-surgical treatment for sciatica: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. BMJ, 381, e070730. doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2022-070730

Peacock, M., Douglas, S., & Nair, P. (2023). Neural mobilization in low back and radicular pain: a systematic review. J Man Manip Ther, 31(1), 4-12. doi.org/10.1080/10669817.2022.2065599

Siddiq, M. A. B., Clegg, D., Hasan, S. A., & Rasker, J. J. (2020). Extra-spinal sciatica and sciatica mimics: a scoping review. Korean J Pain, 33(4), 305-317. doi.org/10.3344/kjp.2020.33.4.305

Yu, F. T., Liu, C. Z., Ni, G. X., Cai, G. W., Liu, Z. S., Zhou, X. Q., Ma, C. Y., Meng, X. L., Tu, J. F., Li, H. W., Yang, J. W., Yan, S. Y., Fu, H. Y., Xu, W. T., Li, J., Xiang, H. C., Sun, T. H., Zhang, B., Li, M. H., . . . Wang, L. Q. (2022). Acupuncture for chronic sciatica: protocol for a multicenter randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 12(5), e054566. doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-054566

Yu, F. T., Ni, G. X., Cai, G. W., Wan, W. J., Zhou, X. Q., Meng, X. L., Li, J. L., Tu, J. F., Wang, L. Q., Yang, J. W., Fu, H. Y., Zhang, X. C., Li, J., Wang, Y. F., Zhang, B., Zhang, X. H., Zhang, H. L., Shi, G. X., & Liu, C. Z. (2021). Efficacy of acupuncture for sciatica: study protocol for a randomized controlled pilot trial. Trials, 22(1), 34. doi.org/10.1186/s13063-020-04961-4


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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Acupuncturists Explain How To Relieve Sciatica Pain" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

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We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
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License Compact Status: Multi-State License: Authorized to Practice in 40 States*
Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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