Today, we’ll talk about how acupuncture for sciatica can be beneficial for you. However, if that’s something you don’t want to try, take note of the natural home remedies we share with you in this article.
The cause of the pain is varied, but, generally, it is due to a hernia—likewise, the compression of the sciatic nerve by the pyramidalis muscle located in the buttocks.
Other causes of sciatic pain are:
- Stenosis of the lumbar canal
- Lumbar osteoarthritis
- Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
- Post-surgical fibrosis
- Infections or tumors in the area.
In a study published in 2002, the authors described the possibility of having persistent sciatica related to age (older age, greater risk), smoking, stress, and jogging.
(the latter may be due to runners who have valgus knees, lack of warm-up, stretching after exercise, or the ground on which they practice not being in good conditions).
Pain may or may not be accompanied by tingling or numbness, a feeling of leg failure, and difficulty walking due to pain or a feeling of weakness.
What should be avoided?
Forced postures such as bending over to pick up a heavy object without bending your knees. It is independent of weight; it’s a matter of bad posture. Also, by rotating the trunk to one side, you can contract the pyramidal muscle, and as a result, get the so feared pain.
Treatment with acupuncture for sciatica: How does it work?
Both needles and moxa will be used. The latter is used, especially in cases where heat helps to improve the symptoms.
Auriculotherapy is another option out there. Auriculotherapy can be performed employing puncture or by the application of needles, seeds, or pins.
If you’re pregnant, both auriculotherapy and acupuncture make a good option to decrease or eliminate sciatic pain. Likewise, physical therapy and/or exercise (always under qualified supervision) are excellent options as well.
During the postpartum period, sciatica is also frequent, and acupuncture continues to be a good option since it doesn’t require the use of drugs (especially if you are breastfeeding).
In an interesting clinical trial conducted with 111 postpartum women with sciatica, 86 decided to undergo acupuncture, and 25 decided to stay at rest.
After one month of treatment, 98% of women who had undergone acupuncture had recovered, compared to 24% who had been at rest.
The relapse rate was similar at one year, regardless of the group, and was around 32-35%. All of the women who chose acupuncture would return for pain relief.
Acupuncture for sciatica with the Ling Gu point: Instant relief
Within acupuncture, you must know there are different vital points (such as the Ling Gu point) that, when worked on, bring wellbeing, eliminate pain, and improve illnesses.
Although several points are often given attention in one acupuncture session or treatment, some are more important than others and are used for specific conditions.
For this reason, we’ll talk a little about the Ling Gu point, which can immediately help relieve pain in the sciatica and lower back. We will see how this treatment is carried out.
However, due to the scarce studies and research that exists, it is necessary to take special care in its application. Although, like any other natural therapy, it does not imply any risks for your health.
Ling Gu: “An interesting point”
The Ling Gu point, whose translation means “spirit bone,” can be worked daily to relieve the ailments of various problems. Especially those related to the lower back.
For this reason, it may be the preferred choice of those who work in an office sitting at a desk all day, as it brings them great relief.
This acupuncture technique was discovered by Master Tung, a Chinese doctor known in his country for the results obtained by his patients thanks to the techniques used.
What sets it apart from the rest is that very few needles are used to achieve greater effects.
Master Tung’s points had been kept secret for several family generations until he decided to reveal them to a group of students. In this way, all of us can now access his benefits.
Where is it located?
The Ling Gu point is located on the top of the hand, between the first and second metacarpals. That is, between the thumb and the index finger, a little above the soft sector that allows for articulating the “lonely” finger.
If you place a finger from the other hand on this point, you’ll realize that there is a type of “hole.”
This point, when worked correctly, can quickly alleviate the pain in sciatica and the lumbar. This pain is so horrible that it starts in the lower back, extending to the leg and restricting normal movements.
To achieve the best results, the needle must be placed in the opposite Ling Gu point. If the pain goes down the right leg, the left hand should be worked on.
Relief should occur within a few minutes.
Pain can be relieved with a handshake
By applying pressure to this spot between the thumb and index finger, also known as Hegu, anxiety and back pain, especially sciatica, can be relieved, as well as head and dental pain.
Although acupuncture practitioners treat this point with needles, you can also do it yourselves by exerting some pressure on the spot.
Out of the more than 300 points on the body, according to Chinese acupuncture, treatment on the Ling Gu point seems to be one of the most useful.
While not enough studies have been done to prove this, traditional Asian medicine has had it one of its “favorites” for hundreds of years.
How to stimulate your own Ling Gu point?
Acupuncturists often focus on the Ling Gu point as part of a personalized pain relief program that includes various other points throughout the body.
For example, the points to be worked on in patients with anxiety disorders are different from those for someone with menstrual pain. However, Ling Gu is probably a common denominator in both treatments.
To manipulate your own Ling Gu point, acupuncturists explain that a finger should be placed on the fleshy part between the opposite hand’s thumb and index finger.
So, place your index finger on the other side of your hand and press down hard. If you do it right, it will hurt.
One or two minutes may be enough, but the benefits begin to show after 20 to 40 minutes of constant pressure. If you don’t have any relief from pressure in one hand, try the other.
The idea is that you do this technique alone, when you’re at home, office, or riding the bus to work. Nevertheless, it’s not recommended to use the needles without proper knowledge or expert supervision.
In short, applying pressure to the Ling Gu point will allow you to relieve pain when your back or sciatica hurts, as well as your head or belly during your period.
Try doing it for half an hour, and don’t wait until you can’t take any more pain down your spine.
Acupuncture for sciatica and Natural home remedies
If practicing acupuncture for sciatica is not your thing, you can try other natural remedies at home.
As we’ll see below, applying eucalyptus compresses, a homemade arnica ointment, and seasoning your meals with turmeric, are just a few home remedies with analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve sciatic pain faster.
Sciatica pain usually appears suddenly in the form of stitches, burning, tingling, alteration of sensitivity, or electric shocks. These are generated from the lower back, crossing the buttocks and going down the legs’ back to the feet.
Usually, sciatica pain appears only in one leg in less serious cases. Nevertheless, when there is a herniated lumbar disc, there can be pain in both legs simultaneously. This pain usually disappears in less than 1 week, depending on the cause.
1. Use eucalyptus compresses
An excellent home remedy to relieve pain caused by inflammation of the sciatic nerve is to apply a warm compress of eucalyptus leaves.
This plant possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce nerve pressure, relieving pain quickly.
In addition to this, as it is used in the form of a warm poultice, this home treatment also allows you to relax the leg or back muscles, providing a greater sense of relief and relaxation.
If you don’t have eucalyptus, you can also choose to make the poultice with lavender or mugwort because they are medicinal plants with similar properties.
- 5 to 10 eucalyptus leaves.
Steam the eucalyptus leaves until they are soft. They should then be used as a poultice over the affected area (where the pain starts). To keep the heat much longer, place a warm towel over the leaves.
Repeat the same process during painful crises daily for at least 20 minutes or until the leaves have cooled down.
2. Season with turmeric
Turmeric is a condiment that leaves a yellowish color in foods but has anti-inflammatory properties due to curcumin.
Turmeric can be added to rice, sauces, and meats and is a good way to help cure sciatic pain naturally.
In addition to this, it’s also recommended to avoid: sugars, fats, oils, protein excess of animal origin, and dairy products, as well as sausages because they encourage the formation of toxins. The reason is that it increases body inflammation.
On a side note, it’s always a good idea to add fruits, vegetables, and legumes to your regular diet. (if you haven’t already done so)
3. Arnica Ointment
This arnica ointment can be made at home with products found in natural and organic products stores.
- 10 grams of beeswax
- 12 grams of coconut oil
- 10 grams of shea butter
- 1 teaspoon of arnica essential oil
- 5 drops of essential oil of rosemary
Melt the beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter in the microwave, and then add the arnica essential oil and rosemary. Mix well and store in a closed container in a dry place.
Whenever you need it, make sure it’s not too thick, and if this happens, place it in a bain-marie for a few minutes until it softens again.
4. Massage therapy
When you’re in a lot of pain, it can make you feel better if you get a massage on your back, butt, and legs. The massage should be pleasant and performed with moisturizing cream or essential oil.
Grapeseed oil mixed with 2 drops of lavender essential oil can help relax the muscles, relieving pain.
5. Stay active
During a sciatic crisis, it is not recommended to stay in absolute rest. Like just lying down or sitting down, because these positions can aggravate the pain.
That’s why it is best to perform light fitness activities and avoid standing in the same position for more than 2 hours.
As mentioned earlier, relative rest is useful. You don’t have to lie around all day. Walking is indicated. If it hurts, stop, rest, and start walking again.
Prolonged immobilization only leads to more muscle contracture.
- Local heat is another measure that can help. In some cases, cold is better
- Oral anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, injected anti-inflammatories, or epidural infiltrations, in more rebellious cases, can also help
- Physical therapy is of great help in these cases as well. Stretching exercises
- As for other therapies, acupuncture for sciatica, moxibustion, and auriculotherapy as useful tools for treating this symptom
What can we do to avoid new cases of sciatica?
Once recovered, consider to seriously start performing physical exercise of any routine form.
Exercises to improve body posture help tone the muscles of the lower back, buttocks, and abdominal area, such as swimming, pilates, yoga, tai chi, and specific exercise tables, among others.
If you are pregnant, yoga can be a great ally in these cases.
Obesity is another condition to avoid. This brings changes to the spine’s axis and decreases the intervertebral space by pinching the disc and, thus, the nerve root.
People with lumbar hernias or stenosis, who are not candidates for surgery, should avoid obesity at all costs.
And if you have extra pounds already, you should consider losing weight. This will help you control and even eliminate pain, so now you know, say NO to a sedentary life.