Acupuncture for Sciatica Review: Is It Good or Bad?

There are several treatment options available for those who suffer from sciatica nerve pain. A number of patients who have dealt with the consistent pain for years have been known to receive treatment from epidural injection. This option can have good success rates. However, there are many affected patients who say that epidural cortisone injections are simply not enough, and they would like to find other safe and effective ways to get relief from their sciatic pain. One option that some have considered is acupuncture.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture for Sciatica

Acupuncture for Sciatica

Acupuncture is a medical practice that involves stimulating particular points on the body by using a small needle to penetrate the skin. This process is meant to provide various types of pain relief and treat certain diseases. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. However, it has only been used in the United States since the late 20th century.

Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment method for:

  • Headaches
  • Severe Migraines
  • Peripheral Osteoarthritis
  • Lower back pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Joint pain
  • Post-operative pain recovery
  • Leg pain
  • Hip pain

Many studies have been performed in the US in order to find out more about all the possible treatment options acupuncture can provide. While the results may vary, and there isn’t enough clinical evidence available to say how effective it truly is, acupuncture has also been used as a possible treatment for:

  • Cancer
  • Issues with fertility
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Post-stroke motor dysfunction
  • ADHD
  • Chronic Asthma
  • Alcohol dependence
  • Drug detoxification
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • And rheumatoid arthritis

What Does Acupuncture Do for the Body?

In general, theory, the practice of acupuncture is based upon the idea that our bodily functions are defined by an energy known as qi. This energy is believed to flow through the body freely, and any disruptions in the flow are thought to be responsible for the disease or disorder.

Acupuncture is an assortment of procedures that help to correct the imbalance of qi in the body. By stimulating certain points located on or underneath the skin, typically referred to as acupoints, a practitioner can help their patient restore their qi flow. The most common acupuncture stimulation method involves penetrating the skin with thin metal needles that may be manipulated manually, or by using electrical stimulation.

Does Acupuncture Work for Sciatica?

While some individuals may be skeptical when it comes to treating sciatica with acupuncture, there are many experts who believe that this treatment option can be highly effective.

Acupuncture has been known to relieve all types of pain, as well as relax muscles, and assist the body throughout the natural healing process without the use of drugs or the risks involved with surgical procedures. For many individuals, acupuncture treatment has helped to alleviate their sciatica pain.

What Should I Know Before Seeing a Licensed Acupuncturist for Sciatica Pain?

When visiting an acupuncture or chiropractic facility, some practitioners may recommend that their patients have an MRI test performed to rule out any other issues that could be considered worse, such as a badly herniated disc, nerve damage, a pinched nerve, or a tumor, before trying acupuncture therapy. This is to help ensure that the patient receives the best possible care, and to help them receive the right type of treatment for their pain. Women of child-bearing age who have developed piriformis syndrome should be advised that acupuncture treatment is not recommended during pregnancy.

What Can I Expect During Acupuncture Treatment?

Whether a patient is seeing an acupuncturist to cure their sciatica pain, or another health condition, the overall process can be very similar from one pain issue to the next. A typical session begins with the patient discussing their medical history with the practitioner. This can help both parties to decide if acupuncture is the right treatment method.

During the actual procedure, the patient may feel some tenderness at times while the practitioner is inserting the needles. Many people who go into the process worried about the needles end up saying that the process was not as bad as they thought and for the most part, they were not bothered by them. The entire process can take anywhere from eight to ten minutes depending on the areas that require treatment. Afterwards, the patient is placed under a heat lamp for around twenty minutes. Then they are ready to go home.

Patients who have tried acupuncture have mentioned that after their first appointment, they left the facility feeling calm, refreshed and comfortable. The majority of people who try out the pain-relief method tends to be more than willing to try it again.

The Pros and Cons of Acupuncture

Before making an appointment with a specialist, it is best to learn more about the pros and cons that are associated with acupuncture therapy so that you know what you are getting into. These factors are based on general acupuncture therapy and what patients who have used this ancient method for various types of pain relief have said.


  • Treatment is fast and ideal for those with busy lifestyles
  • It can help to stimulate the natural pain killers in the body which can not only help with sciatica pain, but also treat other issues
  • Acupuncture can help to reduce swelling
  • It is a simple process that has been performed for centuries
  • The results can be beneficial in more ways than one
  • It is an ideal alternative to invasive surgery or prescription drugs


  • The cost of acupuncture treatment can be expensive
  • It does not work for everyone
  • Some of the side effects include nausea and fatigue
  • There can sometimes be pain the day after therapy
  • It is not a good method of treatment for anyone that is scared of needles
  • The outcome can vary depending on the experience of the practitioner

Should I See An Acupuncturist for my Sciatic Pain?

If you are unsure about having the procedure done for the first time, you should consult with a knowledgeable physician or acupuncturist before committing to this new form of treatment.

While the vote is still out on whether or not acupuncture can provide all people who have sciatic nerve pain with relief, there has definitely been several cases where this type of procedure has helped. Acupuncture has been performed for many years and can provide health benefits to all types of individuals from athletes to busy moms. It may not work for everyone who experiences sciatic pain. However, it has been proven to relieve pain linked to all kinds of ailments, and that can help provide some hope to those living with sciatic pain.

2 thoughts on “Acupuncture for Sciatica Review: Is It Good or Bad?

  1. Pingback: Chiropractic for Sciatica: Can a Chiropractor help with Sciatica? | Back Pain Health Center

  2. Pingback: What’s the Best Treatment for Sciatica? | Back Pain Health Center

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