Would you consider having needles stuck in your skin if it came with the promise of sciatica pain relief? More and more individuals who do not see results in tradition methods of sciatica treatment, like medicine or hot and cold therapy, veer off the Western path and experiment with other cultures’ ancient medicinal practices. In their search for a sciatica-free pregnancy, some have stumbled upon one of the oldest healing procedures in the world: acupuncture. Acupuncture for sciatica during pregnancy may be a valuable part of a holistic treatment approach.
A practice that involves penetrating the skin with thin needles in areas of the body that correspond with an individual’s pain, acupuncture is a semi-invasive form of alternative medicine that originated from Chinese medicine. The Chinese believed that an individual who was experiencing pain had an unbalanced energy flow (qi or chi). To rebalance an individual’s energy, which flows through pathways (meridians) in the body, the Chinese would insert the slender needles in the body at various points along the medians. Once this occurred, an individual would feel relief from their pain, as their energy flow was again balanced.
How Acupuncture for Sciatica during Pregnancy Works to Treat Sciatica Pain
Although many Western acupunctures follow the traditional Chinese method, they have moved beyond the Chinese’s theory that pain relief comes from re-balancing one’s energy flow. Instead, practitioners recognize acupuncture for its benefits in improving circulation as well as triggering a release of the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins. As the skin receptors feel the pain of the needles, they send a message to the brain, triggering this biological response to stop the pain The acupuncture points are therefore placed on the body where they can stimulate damaged or strained muscles, nerves or connective tissues.
What to Expect During your Acupuncture Appointment:
Because acupuncture is unfamiliar to many, let’s walk through the steps of a typical acupuncture appointment:
1. A Consultation: Acupuncturists do not dive right in, sticking needles in you at their every whim. A detailed discussion of your medical history, cause of current pain as well as duration and location of said pain occurs first–before you even see the needles. An acupuncturist needs to evaluate which acupuncture points will best ease your pain.
2. Let the Needle Poking Begin: After the acupuncturist has determined the best way to approach your situation, he begins inserting the needles in the parts of your body that correspond with your pain. For sciatic nerve pain, common acupuncture points are along the lower back, near the sciatic nerve, down the buttocks, upper thighs and even leg. Although not a painful process, be prepared for your acupuncturist to revisit inserted needles, manipulating them further to increase sciatica pain relief.
3. Feel the Freedom from Sciatica: Anywhere from immediately to within two hours of the treatment, you should begin to feel reduced sciatica pain. Regular appointments over the course of your pregnancy will increase the results of the acupuncture on your sciatica, with reports of a complete absence of pain after 10-20 visits.
Now that you know what acupuncture is all about, don’t be afraid to schedule an appointment and start feeling relief from your sciatica-pregnancy today.