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Sciatica Acupressure for the Treatment of Pain

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 3/31/2010

Sciatica acupressure is used to help reduce and relieve the back and lower body from pain. Learn information about sciatica and how acupressure can be beneficial for this condition.

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    What is Sciatica?

    Sciatica is considered to be a symptom. When a person has sciatica, they experience leg pains that feel like intense leg cramps. Shooting pain occurs that is excruciating and can make sitting or standing nearly impossible.

    A sneeze, cough, or even sitting can make the pain feel worse. Sciatica can occur suddenly or it can develop gradually over time. The feeling of weakness, numbness, burning, or a tingling sensation runs down the leg into the toes. Other symptoms that can occur include the inability to bend the knees or the loss of movement in the toes and feet, but these symptoms are less common.

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    Causes of Sciatica

    Sciatica can be caused by a herniated spinal disc. A herniated disc is a common cause of sciatica. This causes the normal cushion between the vertebrae of the spine to rupture. The disc pushes out into areas that the nerve usually occupies. The nerve becomes compressed and symptoms of pain, weakness, and numbness occur. Other causes of sciatica include spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and piriformis syndrome.

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    Sciatica Acupressure

    Sciatica acupressure is a therapy offered by acupuncturists, massage therapists, chiropractors, and physical therapists. The practice is directed at the sciatic nerve in hopes of eliciting positive healing and relieving pain symptoms.

    The point or area to target to relieve pain is in the buttock. The center of the depression at the side of the buttocks should receive hard pressure to relieve pain. The acupressure points are used to balance Qi of the back and sciatica. This can be achieved by alternating the local area or by adjusting the flow of Qi in the meridians, which are energy pathways that cross the back.

    When performing sciatica acupressure, these tips can help you achieve better results:

    • Remember to breathe deeply if you are performing acupressure on yourself.
    • Fully concentrate and focus your attention on the acupressure point. Do this as you apply pressure to increase the effects.
    • The acupressure stimulation should feel strong, but the amount of stimulation should not feel too strong to the point of feeling uncomfortable.
    • Use gentle stretching exercises such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong. These stretching exercises are beneficial for any type of back pain condition.

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    The Benefits of Sciatica Acupressure for Pain

    The are several benefits of sciatica acupressure that help relieve pain.

    • An increase in local blood circulation in the area if stimulation occurs when acupressure is used
    • Acupressure can relieve severe pain by causing the release of endorphins in the body. Endorphins are the body's natural painkillers.
    • The points of acupressure coincide with motor points of muscles. When this happens, the points of the underlying muscles will increasingly relax.

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    References

    Cleveland Clinic: What is Sciatica? - http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/Sciatica/hic_What_is_Sciatica.aspx

    Spine Universe: Alternative Treatments to Relieve Sciatica Pain - http://www.spineuniverse.com/conditions/sciatica/alternative-treatments-reduce-sciatica