Acupuncture for sciatica: hip and leg pain

Acupuncture is highly sort out for pain, and it can be useful for sciatica. Sciatica can occur at any time in life, and it can be common in pregnancy given the ovaries and placenta produce relaxin hormone which helps stretch the ligaments and uterus for birth preparation. This can also cause pelvic issues with the impending growth of baby pressing on nerves and expanding the pelvis.


Sciatica can be felt from the lower back down the back or side of the leg, it may be a localised constant pain to a pain that is sharp and appears with movement right down to the toes. Either way if you have had it or someone you know has; it isn’t much fun.

Usually four to six acupuncture treatments will resolve most cases of sciatica, and an assessment is involved to decipher which channels are affected and where it is coming from in the body. This may include using distal points on the wrists or feet for example, or even the opposite limb. Once the sciatica is treated, it is important to look after the hips and legs so that they are strong and in alignment.

The most important reason people tend to try acupuncture is because it is associated with fewer side effects than taking medicines such as NSAIDs, as found in this systemic review.

Important things to note when managing sciatica are:

  • Don’t ice the area, unless it is a fresh injury you may consider icing it alternating with a heat pack, otherwise we recommend heat packs and hot water bottles.
  • Acupuncture, cupping, moxa and herbs
  • Exercise, such as walking, swimming, qi gong, yoga and pilates
  • Epsom salt or magnesium baths
  • Affirmations: Louise Hay in her little blue book refers to the metaphysical causes of sciatica being due to being hypocritical, fearing money and the future. The affirmation to reassure oneself is. “I move into my greater mood. My good is everywhere & I am safe & secure.”

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe

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