My wife is 68 and has a very high threshold of pain but is suffering extreme pain from sciatica.She has tried all the pain killers even Mophine

As you can imagine we have been asked about sciatica on many occasions and a typical recent answer was:

As you can read from our factsheethttps://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/sciatica.htmlthere has been a significant amount of research into the treatment of sciatica with acupuncture, and the results have been increasingly positive. The threshold for being able to make a definite claim is based on a research process for which very little acupuncture treatment except non-traditional formula work will work, but there have been dozens of Chinese studies aimed at finding what works better which seem to show that sciatica responds well to treatment. Certainly this 'expert's' experience is that sciatica seems to respond well to treatment in most cases.There is no doubt that formula treatment will work to an extent, and there are many medical acupuncturists and 'cookbook' practitioners who will use the same 'sciatica' patients on every patient. The real strength of traditional acupuncture, though, is that it addresses the problem of why sciatica occurs in this particular patient, or more properly why the system does not put right and recover from the injuries which normally cause it. Twenty different people may have the same named condition but be treated in twenty entirely different ways. What this does is not just put the problem right but try to make sure that it does not recur.There are no special treatments for sciatica, and no specialists, so any well-trained traditional acupuncturist should be able to help you. The best advice, though, since there are one or two cases which would not make us feel so optimistic, is to pop in to see a BAcC member local to you for a chat and to get a short face to face assessment of what is going on. This will not only give you more precise information but also give you a chance to meet a practitioner and see where they work before committing to treatment.This seems to us to remain the best advice we can give without actually being able to see the patient first hand. What we would say, though, is that we often work closely with osteopaths in treating problems like this. Although we work 'functionally' so to speak, encouraging the muscles and tendons to re-assert the body's correct shape and posture, there are times when a visit or two to an osteopath to make structural amendments can often speed up progress. Where acupuncture really helps structural work is that it appears to consolidate structural changes and maintain the gains which have been achieved. We are assuming, of course, that your wife has had the usual battery of tests, X-rays at least, to see if there is a change in the lower spine which may be contributing. There are cases, especially where discs have worn badly, where the possibilities for change and improvement become more long-term and gradual. Given the extent to which your wife is suffering further information from an X-ray or scan sounds like it might be a very good idea. Most sciatica can be alleviated by a change of position, and if the pain is acute and continuous it suggests more is going on than meets the eye.

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