Back Ache and Sciatica

It is estimated that some fifty per-cent of people in Western society will suffer back ache and sciatica at some time in their life. This is a staggering statistic and represents a large number of lost working days! So what does acupuncture have to offer in treating this condition?

According to classical Chinese theory, the back is strongly influenced by the kidney and bladder acupuncture channels. From this perspective the causes usually attributed to back ache and sciatica are excessive physical work, excessive sexual activity, pregnancy (and childbirth) and living/working in cold and damp conditions. It is worth mentioning that modern medicine does not view all of these factors as important.

Back ache and sciaticaThe skilled acupuncturist will ask you detailed questions and make careful observations. He will look at your tongue and feel your pulse on both wrists. He will examine your back, observe you walking and bending and sitting. You will be asked about your general health – are you a hot or a cold person – how are your energy levels? We observe that people with cold extremities are frequently more likely to suffer related to exposure to cold weather.

If you are one of the proportion of individuals receiving osteopathic or chiropractic treatment for back pain and who find that the effects are shortlived, you may find acupuncture helpful to literally strengthen your back.

And what does acupuncture treatment include? Depending on the diagnosis, your treatment may include (alongside the insertion of very fine needles) moxibustion, cupping, acupressure massage, friction massage and electrical stimulation. You may also be recommended to eat specific foods to improve your circulation or to fortify your blood.

So is acupuncture effective for back ache and sciatica?  The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on best practice now recommend that GPs offer a course of 10 sessions of acupuncture as a first line treatment for persistent, non-specific low back pain. Read the fact sheet published by The British Acupuncture Council or take a look at ‘Back Care Tips’ as promoted by the mystery man at

Give Martin Dean a call on 07 969 4131 58