By Dr. Hyun K. Lee

Contributing Writer


Sciatica is literally a pain in the buttocks to experience but luckily most people get better in a short time and acupuncture can help with that. Sciatica is a very common complaint. Statistics say that about 40% of people in the United States experience sciatica sometime during their life.

The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the human body. It begins in the lower back, runs through the buttock and down the leg and delivers sensation to the leg and foot. Being such a large nerve, it is more prone to upset than others. 

Sciatica symptoms include pain, numbness, muscular weakness, difficulty controlling movement in the leg, sensations of pins and needles and/or tingling, difficulty walking, walking bent over and/or dragging the leg. Some people describe the pain as sharp, shooting, or jolts of pain. Others describe this pain as burning, electric or stabbing.

The general cause of sciatica is due to the spine and sacrum being out of balance, which creates a narrowing in the gap between vertebrae. When you move or have some range of motion, the nerve can become pinched which leads to the previously mentioned symptoms. However, the cause of the spine/sacrum imbalance is due to weakened muscles that are no longer supporting straight bones because of weakness in organ function. 

Each organ controls different muscles in the body. If these organs have become weak, their “job performance” lacks and they’re no longer doing what they’re supposed to do. If your muscles aren’t helping to keep your bones properly in place, you begin to notice problems here and there. This is primarily why some patients still have pain even after surgery has been performed to relieve the sciatica. 

Acupuncture works to balance the organs so the muscles can once again support the bones properly. Over a short time, your structure becomes properly straightened and realigned, thus relieving the compression of the sciatic nerve. 

Those with acute pain, or sciatica due to pregnancy, will only need a couple sessions before they find relief. Others, who have chronic sciatica, may need between one and three months of treatment. For these patients, acupuncture with acupressure works to control the central nerves that run to the sciatic nerve and adjust kidney and liver functions, which are stressed and have made the muscles weak and also created a circulation problem. Herbs are also prescribed to eliminate organ stress, feed muscles better and eliminate toxins from them as well.  The acupuncture works to mechanically restore proper function, while the herbs work internally for organ and muscle longevity. 

If your sciatica stems from an injury from an accident and you have already had surgery, acupuncture can also help to aide recovery and eliminate any continuing pain. 

Whether your sciatica is acute or chronic, there is no reason to live with pain as acupuncture is very successful at eliminating the problem and restoring your quality of life. 

Dr. Lee’s office is located in the Viborg Medical Center, 2030 Viborg Road, Suite #107, Solvang. The clinic is held every Wednesday only. Dr. Lee also has offices in Los Angeles, and Atascadero. To make an appointment in the Solvang office, call 805-693-5162.