Sciatica (Bi Zheng) is a commonly seen complaint in the clinic. In fact, I suffered from sciatica myself many years ago, and that was what led me to acupuncture and my current practice.
Most people, and even some doctors, don’t realize that sciatica is not a diagnosis, but rather a syndrome caused by a herniated disc with nerve root compression.
Acupuncture is used to decrease inflammation around the nerve root and to increase blood circulation in the local area. No drugs are needed to treat this syndrome if you see an acupuncturist.
A group of researchers from the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine conducted a systemic review and meta - analysis of the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of Sciatica. It was concluded that acupuncture was more effective than conventional Western medicine in terms of treatment effectiveness, pain intensity and pain threshold.
In another review, researchers analyzed 11 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and found that acupuncture was more effective than Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for patients suffering from sciatica.
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Ji M, Wang X, Chen M, Shen Y, Zhang X, Yang J. The Efficacy of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:192808. doi: 10.1155/2015/192808. Epub 2015 Sep 6.
Qin Z, Liu X, Wu J, Zhai Y, Liu Z. Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Treating Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:425108. doi: 10.1155/2015/425108. Epub 2015 Oct 21.