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I have had lower back pain since Oct 11 followed by onset of sciatica since 19th Nov 11. I have had an MRI and found to have a prolapsed disc at L4/L5 affecting the l5 nerve root into my R leg. I am due to see a neurosurgeon. Is acupuncture an option

There is evidence, accepted by NICE, that acupuncture can be used for the treatment of low back pain. Our BAcC factsheet details the studies which have supported this conclusion for non-specific pain.

 

However, in your case there is a very clear cause, and no accepted evidence of which we are aware of that prolapsed discs can be treated with acupuncture as an alternative to surgery. There are dozens of anecdotal accounts from BAcC practitioners of using acupuncture to encourage the reduction of inflammation and to keep it at bay while the protruding section of disc is dealt with by the body, but this is not sufficient basis for us to make an unqualified recommendation.

 

A great deal depends on the advice of your neurosurgeon. If the bulge is bad enough to require surgery then it would be unwise to ignore this advice. If, however, he or she believes that there is a possibility that with rest and careful exercise the problem can be managed without surgery, then acupuncture along with some form of gentle manipulation like odteopathy may well be able to accelerate the recovery process. We would also recommend that you discuss alternative options with the neurosurgeon; many are very supportive of complementary therapies which encourage restoration of normal function.

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BAcC Factsheets

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