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:
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:
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.