Sciatica is a common nerve condition which can be very debilitating. The exact medical term for the condition is lumbar radiculopathy and it is understood to be a syndrome involving impingement and/or inflammation of the nerves, usually in the lower back area.

Sciatic pain can be caused by many factors, including both sudden trauma and gradual build-up due to postural imbalances, dehydration, or normal aging.

The most common symptoms of sciatica are:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain in the buttocks or leg that worsens when sitting
  • Hip pain that radiates or spreads down the back of one thigh to the foot
  • A burning or tingling sensation running down the leg
  • Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot.

The goal of our therapy is to dramatically improve the quality of life for people who suffer from these severe chronic and acute symptoms so they can get back to doing the things they love.

There are many treatment options for sciatica ranging from pain killers or massage all the way to surgery, but acupuncture has proven to be one of the most gentle, natural and effective.

Treatment of Sciatica with Traditional Japanese Medicine

Traditional Japanese Medicine (TJM) views Sciatica differently from typical Western therapies. To practitioners of TJM, sciatica is generally seen as a sign of stagnation of Qi (Energy) and blood in the local area.

For example; an impingement of the Sciatic nerve can be regarded as a typical reflection of Qi stagnation. Blocked Qi induces poor energy circulation along the specific meridian in the same way that impeded blood circulation can lead to inflammation or degeneration of the nerves.

Based on this medical viewpoint, the treatment modality employed by TJM for Sciatica is based on the use of Traditional Japanese Acupuncture (TJA) to unblock and stimulate the smooth movement of Qi and blood in the area and ensure that their free flow is maintained.

From a western biomedical viewpoint, acupuncture triggers a response from the nervous system which leads the brain to:

  • Release a cascade of natural painkillers (e.g. Endorphins)
  • Increase the levels of serotonin and noradrenaline
  • Regulate the brain’s functional ability to deactivating pain reception
  • Increase blood flow to the painful area

The resulting biochemical changes and neurofunctional regulation can stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities. TJA is a gentle treatment that is intended to be very relaxing, restorative and balancing, not only  physically, but also mentally and emotionally.

The Case of Mr. K.

A 45-year-old man visited me for treatment complaining of severe Sciatic pain that had lasted more than 6 months. He said that the pain started suddenly and didn’t appear to have any obvious cause. He reported that from one month before his first visit, the pain and tingling sensation had spread down the back of the thigh and calf in one leg.

His symptoms included lower back and buttock pain that worsened when he was sitting and a burning/tingling sensation that extended from his buttocks down to his foot.

By palpating various energy nodes, I got a sense of stagnation at a specific point in the lower back and buttock area, located along the Bladder meridian. In the case of his type of sciatica, the Bladder meridian is typically in need of energetic balancing. This meridian runs alongside the Sciatic nerve, and Qi stagnation quite often occurs as a structural impingement or compression of it.

Using a combination of TJA and western biomedical modalities, I devoted his initial sessions to the facilitation of neurohormonal factors, deactivation of his pain processing function and the rebalancing of his Kidney / Bladder meridian balance. Mr. K. reported that his pain was reduced by about 60% in the first session and that after four sessions, his symptoms were in largely in remission.


Traditional Japanese Acupuncture can accelerate the healing process for Sciatica safely, naturally, and without the use of Opioids or other potentially harmful or addictive pain medications.

Our treatment is tailored to solve each patient’s specific condition.  Understanding the exact cause of the Sciatica is vital for developing an effective course of treatment and preventing the pain from becoming a recurring problem.

If you suffer from Sciatica but have been frustrated in trying to find a safe and effective therapy, this might be a good time for you to consider Traditional Japanese Acupuncture.

Credit; Qigong exercise to treat lack of essence and pulses: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)