Acupuncture Relieves Sciatica

Acupuncture Relieves Sciatica Blog  Sciatica Acupuncture

Sciatica is a medical term that refers to discomfort in the lower back that continues on down through the hips, legs, and rear of the body. Recently, scientists working for the Rizhao Hospital of Traditional Medicine, in conjunction with researchers from the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, tested whether acupuncture can relieve the discomfort of lower back pain. The researchers discovered that both acupuncture alone, as well as acupuncture plus traditional medicinal herbs, were able to lower pain levels and achieve positive results for the tested patients. Furthermore, the scientific team were successfully able to demonstrate that acupuncture and medicinal herbs played an active role in adjusting biochemical levels in the body that led to reduced discomfort levels.

The research demonstrated that acupuncture alone has a success rate of 81.6% for reducing or eliminating the discomfort, allowing sufferers to return to normal function. Acupuncture, in conjunction with medicinal herbs, demonstrated a 95% success rate in reducing or eliminating pain. The scientists were then able to confidently report that a combination of acupuncture and medicinal herbs were more successful than acupuncture alone when used in the treatment of lower back and body pain.

The scientific study measured levels of a serum called B-EP, which is known to deaden the transmission of nerve pain signals, and discovered that acupuncture increases the body’s production of this serum. Likewise, the condition sciatica is regularly diagnosed by confirming increased levels of three serums in the body: IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-a. The study reported that acupuncture reduces the body’s level of production of these three serums. Nonetheless, the study conclusively demonstrated that the use of acupuncture in conjunction with medicinal herbs achieved far more satisfactory results than relying on acupuncture alone as a treatment therapy for lower back pain.

The study followed a number of internationally recognized metrics for measuring pain, including the Visual Analog Scale, the Japanese Orthopaedic Association method for scoring pain, as well as the renowned Owestry Disability Index. These metrics were used throughout the study to document the discomfort levels in patients when lifting, walking, performing daily activities, sleeping, standing, socializing, and traveling. Every patient was rated for their pain on all three scales before beginning therapy, as well as three, 10, and 22 days after undergoing both acupuncture therapy and a course of treatment of medicinal herbs.

The researchers chose the following acupuncture points to administer acupuncture for back pain during the study:

  • Zhibian, BL54
  • Ashi
  • Chengfu, BL36
  • Yaoyangguan, DU3
  • Huantiao, GB30
  • Chengshan, BL57
  • Fengshi, GB31
  • Dachangshu, BL25
  • Weizhong, BL40

In addition, several other acupuncture for back pain points were also included for some patients to address individual complaints. For patients suffering from “qi stagnation” and “blood stasis”, the therapists included both Taichong (LV3) and Xuehai (SP10) acupuncture points. To treat kidney and liver “deficiencies”, the acupuncture points Shenshu (BL23) and Taixi (KD3) were also included. For patients suffering from “cold and damp stasis”, the acupuncture point Yanglingquan (GB34) was used as well.

The medicinal herbs tested during the study came from the formula known as “Tong Bi Zhi Tong Tang”, the ingredients of which include:

  • Eucommia ulmoides
  • Chinese taxillus
  • Honey-fried licorice root
  • Rhizoma arisaematis
  • Rhizoma cibotii
  • Bugbane
  • Cassia
  • Clematis
  • Safflower
  • Cyathula officinalis
  • Angelica
  • Chuan Xiong

Depending on individual diagnoses, some patients were given supplementary medicinal herbs, including: radix aconiti preparata, asarum sieboldii, Boswellia carterii, myrrh, astragalus, Rehmannia glutinosa, and Cornel.

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In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)

image

Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)

image

Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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