Acupuncture for Sciatica During Pregnancy
For most women, pregnancy is a much-anticipated, sacred journey into motherhood. And as the journey progresses, as your uterus expands in size and as your baby grows, so does your stomach. This additional weight can apply pressure on unstable joints and muscles, causing sciatica, a pain that radiates from the lower back along the path of the sciatic nerve – the widest and longest nerve in the body – through your hips and buttocks and down your leg.
Although sciatica can occur at any time in pregnancy, it will often develop during the 3rd trimester with a pain that can vary from mild discomfort to an exhausting and debilitating condition that impacts your quality of life. Sciatic pain can be acute or chronic, and it can come and go. Regardless, it’s painful.
If you have sciatica, getting back on your feet in preparation for the imminent labor and delivery should be your focus of attention. And acupuncture for sciatica can help you get there. In fact, the study ‘The Efficacy of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis’ published in the journal of Evidenced-Based and Complimentary Medicine, involved 1842 participants, and demonstrated that acupuncture was more effective than conventional Western medicine in terms of effectiveness outcomes, decreasing pain intensity, and pain threshold.
Understanding Pregnancy Sciatica Pain Relief via Chinese Medicine
Determining the root cause of sciatica, also known as lumbar radiculopathy, is crucial to Chinese medicine. Sciatic pain can be caused by the following:
- The deficiency, stagnation, and blockage of blood, Qi, and Yin & Yang in the liver and the kidney are mainly catalyzed by fatigue and non-restorative sleep.
- Wind-Cold-Damp Bi obstruction – sciatic pains caused and exacerbated by a poor diet and cold or damp weather. It primarily affects the meridians on the lower limbs.
- Muscular and structural tension. The symptoms of sciatic pain worsen when the patient is sitting still.
Treatment of sciatica involves identifying the blocked meridian, the reason for the blockage, and then unblocking Qi and blood stagnation, which will help energy flow. This unblocking nourishes Yin while toning the Yang:
- Stagnation: Acute pain that increases in intensity at night and doesn’t respond to rest but improves with light exercise is usually related to the stagnation of Blood and Qi.
- Deficiency: Sciatica that is usually felt later in the day or secondary to exertion can be a deficiency in the vital energies of Blood, Qi, Yin, or Yang. Fatigue and poor rest compound the pain.
- Wind-Cold-Damp-Bi – can be indicated by a large area of diffuse pain and sometimes feeling cold to the touch. The pain is exacerbated by exposure to damp weather, cold, and a poor diet. In addition, muscular tension can weaken the back muscles and make the mother susceptible to even more injury.
How long will acupuncture for sciatica during pregnancy take to resolve?
Acupuncture for sciatica during pregnancy can provide some short-term relief can be seen immediately. But long-term relief will be seen after several visits. Since the frequency of visits and the severity of your pain matter, acupuncture for pregnancy sciatica is a process that will vary from person to person.
Other Tips for Pregnancy Sciatica Pain Relief
- Moxibustion in Combination with Acupuncture – Used as a treatment for Wind-Cold-Damp-Bi causes of sciatica, moxibustion, or moxa, is the application of heat concentrated on the acupoints to treat sciatica, where mugwort herb is rolled up into a cigar shape with the smoldering part near the painful area. This clears the cold and damp from the energy channels.
- Qi Gong Exercises – Qi Gong (chi kung) exercise is another viable option to treat sciatica. These exercises re-route the body’s Qi-energy to places that are either stagnant or deficient. And it offers the added benefit of providing exercise.
- Diet – Changing your eating habits and adopting an active and healthy lifestyle that includes a modified diet can all help to reduce sciatica pain. Luckily, there is a wide variety of anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant foods to choose from, including vegetables, fruits, and oils, ensuring that your diet is healthy, tasty, and even looks good! However, there is one caveat: stay away from processed foods. The chemicals within them can make your sciatica worse.
So, release your pain with acupuncture. It’s an effective tool throughout all stages of pregnancy, including pre-partum and post-partum.
For more information about how Chinese Medicine can help you with sciatica during pregnancy, book your free consultation with our Chinese Medicine experts today
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.