Find an acupuncturist...

I have had 9 acupuncture treatments in the last 3 weeks for sciatica and they do not seem to be working. They are along with the hydro like a water bed and a bed that does the rolling massage on the back and spine. Is there any other treatment that c

We are sorry to hear that in spite of all the treatment you are receiving matters don't seem to be improving. It's a little difficult to answer this question, because as you can easily understand, our expertise lies in using traditional acupuncture so we wouldn't hold ourselves out to be experts in any other fields. However, we invariably suggest osteopaths and chiropractors as alternatives, and indeed, often work with them to achieve change. Our work on the functional aspects of the body together with their work on the structural aspects is often what is called synergistic, the two treatments having more effect than the sum of their parts.

We would want to know a great deal more before offering any other suggestions, though. As our factsheet shows

the evidence of the use of acupuncture in treating sciatica is pretty good, so the fact that you are seeing no change is unusual. It would also be helpful to know exactly how much of a problem it is/was, and how it came about, i.e. suddenly through accident or slowly through wear and tear. All of these have a bearing on what we might recommend to a patient we took on.

The one thought that we can't help have, though, is that this is quite a great deal of treatment to be having all at once. We tend to reserve more than once weekly treatment for really acute problems where the patient cannot function at all. For more chronic problems two or more treatments a week might just be a little disruptive to the healing process. Not everyone would agree, and in China, for example, acupuncture might well be routinely delivered every day for a ten day course of treatment. Many Chinese practitioners do the same in the UK, but the majority of us tend to leave a little more space between sessions to give the body time to adjust. It might just be that less is more in your case, and that letting the treatment bed in for a little longer might encourage more progress.

There are a variety of associated bodywork treatments in oriental medicine - tui na, shiatsu, etc - many of which are used within traditional practice by acupuncturists but also by people who specialise in these techniques. You might usefully see if this could be added to the mix.

More than this we really cannot say without access to more comprehensive background information, but we would encourage you to ask your practitioner about what else you might usefully do. They, after all, have access to all the information which we would need, and have undoubtedly come across similar cases in the past and know what is likely to be a good adjunct and who locally is best qualified to offer it.

Post a question

If you have any questions about acupuncture, browse our archive or ask an expert.

Ask an expert

BAcC Factsheets

Research based factsheets have been prepared for over 60 conditions especially for this website

Browse the facts