Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome
Feeling stabbing pains down your leg or in your foot? Pins and needles, numbness, or muscular weakness in the buttocks, hip or leg? These symptoms and other variations are likely caused by sciatica. This involves compression of the sciatic nerve or one of the spinal nerve roots that give rise to the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs from your spinal cord through the buttock and hip area, then down your leg. There are so many variations in the symptoms this can cause that I’m never quick to rule it out. Some people feel pain down the side or front of their leg, others the back or even just in the foot. The pain can be excruciating or may even be just tingling or loss of motor control. Typically, standing or sitting for long periods will exacerbate symptoms, as may sneezing, coughing, laughing or bending backward.
The good news is that a great percentage of the time, this is muscular in origin. When muscles in the lower back or glute area become tight, inflamed or spasmed, they can put pressure on the sciatic nerve. This often happens with chronic muscular tension that continues to get worse, or may be from sitting in a cold chair or on a plane for many hours. A related condition called “piriformis syndrome” may also result in similar symptoms.
The nature of your sciatic pain (or piriformis syndrome) is best assessed by having acupuncture treatment. As I mentioned, a great majority of patients who suffer with this condition have muscular triggers. Using acupuncture, infrared therapy, e-stim, stretching and/or herbal medicine, I can quickly and effectively release the muscular pressure on the nerve to alleviate pain and prevent its return.
Sure, you can get an MRI and find out if you have a herniated disc or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)…but this gets expensive. If a few acupuncture sessions will take care of the pain, you don’t have to worry about these issues. In the rare cases where structural impingement is causing the problem, acupuncture may provide temporary relief or none at all. When patients don’t respond to acupuncture, I generally refer them to a chiropractor, orthopedic specialist, or for an MRI.
Treating this condition is one of my favorite chances to impress and amaze with acupuncture. Stop your suffering already!