Alternative Medicine for Sciatica

There are many alternative medicines to relieve and cure the pain of sciatica, other than taking over-the-counter drugs. Sciatica is a combination of many symptoms usually caused by inflammation on one of five nerve roots that create the sciatic nerve, or by pressure and/or inflammation of the sciatic nerve itself. The symptoms include acute pain running up and down the lower back and down the legs. If you have sciatica, you don’t have to live with it forever. The pain can be diminished and relieved entirely. Remember that it if the pain does not subside or becomes worse, cease what you’re doing and contact a physician or other health practitioner.


Increasingly well-known in the United States, acupuncture is a therapy developed in ancient China around the belief in chi or qi (pronounced chee). Chi is energy that moves or circulates through the body. When this energy is blocked, a welter of unpleasant symptoms can result: pain, discomfort, boredom, lethargy, even depression. Chi energy can be honed because it moves through specific points in the body called Meridians. These Meridians, or Acupuncture points, are opened using acupuncture needles. At this point many readers, including myself, start to stiffen. You’re suggesting I stick needles in myself to ease pain? It sounds like I’ll just add to the pain! But this isn’t the case with acupuncture needles. In order to stimulate the Meridians, acupuncture needles need only be pressed slightly into the tissue, not enough to draw blood or cause pain. In fact an acupuncture session is well known to be very relaxing and comfortable. The licensed practitioner may spin, heat, or jiggle the needles slightly to help stimulate the meridians to unblock chi flow. If you’re interested in trying a session of acupuncture, look for a practitioner who uses sterilized needles.

Yoga is another ancient health practice developed in Asia. Its use is widespread in the United States. Yoga began as a physical preparation for religious meditation, and as a life-time participant you can expect to breathe better, be more flexible, toned, and calm. There are many stretching poses that can relieve the pain of sciatica, but there are also some that aggravate that pain. Forward bends and down dogs can put pressure on the muscles and root fiber surround the nerve. Be careful doing yoga. I don’t want to scare you away from this wonderful discipline, but as in any exercise you have to listen to your body and retreat from a pose when pain, especially acute, shooting pain such as you feel in sciatica, sharpens or worsens. Be sure to take a beginners class with a certified yoga teacher. There are many kinds of yoga: Hatha, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Bikram, to name just a few of the most popular styles in the United States. Each offers a different approach to restoring the body. I recommend you begin your treatment of sciatica with a beginner’s Hatha or Kundalini class.

There are many other alternative medicines to treat and alleviate the pain of sciatica, such as biofeedback training and acupressure, to name just a few. Begin with home remedies, and avoid the initial practices that caused the sciatica in the first place, and go from there. Your treating sciatica may find you treating the rest of your life better.

Filed Under: Sciatica
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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