Subscribe for updates and to learn more:
Limping SciaticaSciatica is one of the common problems I often treat in my practice. In the past I've spoken about some of the cases I've treated. Sciatica is actually not a funny problem, because it can be quite severe. I just recently treated a patient who came into my office limping due to the pain.
Most patients with sciatica who have gone for some medical scan will be told that there is some kind of hernia or disk problem between the last lumbar vertebrae(L5) and the first sacral vertebrae(S1). This area bears a huge brunt of the body's weight and twisting and turning pressures on a daily basis. The nerve that gets irritated in sciatica also comes out of this area. With my patient she is in my opinion overweight. And also her job demands long hours of standing so it is understandable that she would end up having this problem. In the end, sciatica essentially is a mix of multiple different problems---joint pain, muscle tension, tendon spasm, bursitis and nerve irritation.
She complains of the typical sciatica pain which involves lower back pain, buttock pain, hip pain and radiation down the side and back of her thighs. Because of all this she has taken off work for a few months. She was limping into my office, as the side of the pain cannot bear any pressure at all. In fact just sitting down is painful.
When I inserted the acupuncture needles into her she was very sensitive to the needles. I could say almost everywhere I put in the needles she felt pain, which is not characteristic of a typical acupuncture treatment. Most patients don't complain of much pain during acupuncture because the needles are hair-thin. In my opinion the reason is obviously because there is so much tension, spasming and inflammation in the affected areas that any type of stimulation and disturbance elicits pain.
The acupuncture treatments are different everytime and I used a mixture of local needling and traditional distal needling. Thankfully, after 8 treatments over a course of a few weeks, roughly 2 treatments per week, she is now walking with a normal gait.
I also told the patient to buy a waist support that would help alleviate some of the pressure of her body weight on the lower back. I'm still continuing to treat her albeit at less frequencies and the patient recently told me that she is restarting work doing less hours and with less heavy bearing. It is good that the company she works for is thoughtful of her situation.
In retrospect I also believe what has helped her recovery is the fact that she took time off to give her body a break. Usually patients who are continuing to put stress on the painful or injured area mostly because they cannot go off without working, recover very slowly with our treatments. This is something that we cannot do much about unfortunately.