Sciatica can leave a person in severe pain both mentally and physically. Generally affecting only one side of the body, the pain can leave you unable to move, sleep, work or participate in daily activities. Standing up on one leg can cause severe pain and leave you feeling weak. You may also suffer from significant side effects like bladder and bowel issues.  So, how do you stop sciatica pain? Let’s look at some of the things you can do to get immediate relief from sciatica pain through acupuncture and how this trusted form of pain relief therapy can allow you to start doing the things you love once again. 

Physical therapy

What is Sciatica?

Most people will experience sciatica in their lifetime. Sometimes, it appears as lower back pain similar to a strained muscle or ligament. It can be the result of an accident or something more serious like trauma to the body. You will usually feel the pain in the lower back first, then it travels down the spine to the legs and buttocks. This can make it difficult to walk, sit and stand. This pain is better known as sciatica.

The level of pain people experience may vary from one person to the next. Some feel only mild temporary discomfort, while others experience a sharp pain and burning sensation that can be made worse by something as simple as coughing or sneezing. Other patients report tingling or muscle weakness as the pain becomes too much to handle.

What Causes Sciatic Pain?

It can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint the source of sciatica pain. In most cases, it’s the result of a lumbar herniated disc. This disc acts as a cushion when we move between the spinal vertebrae. Strain or another injury can cause the cushioning to leak and compress the sciatic nerve. 

Sciatica pain can also be caused by inflammation of the sciatic nerve due to sitting or pressure on the disc. Lifting heavy objects can also cause the disc to shift which will eventually cause pain. 

Another frequent cause of sciatic pain is bone spurs. These can develop over time and behave like a tumour by compressing the nerve. 

Diabetes and other common vascular illnesses can also cause sciatic pain.

physician working patient
massage therapy to patient

Types of Sciatic Pain

There are several kinds of sciatic pain that vary based on the cause and severity. 

Acute Sciatic Nerve Pain

This can vary from sharp pain to numbness and tingling. It can be the result of sudden irritation to the nerves or if the nerves become pinched or compressed.

Chronic Sciatic Nerve Pain

Perhaps the most painful type of sciatica, this pain can last for months at a time.

Bilateral Sciatic Nerve Pain

Occurring in one leg, this type of sciatic pain can be present in both legs and cause significant pain for patients. 

Alternating Sciatic Nerve Pain

This is when the pain can move back and forth between legs. This can make it difficult to manage and leave patients in severe pain.

physician checking pain points
sciatic pain massage

How to Reduce Sciatic Pain

Sciatic pain may seem like an endless cycle of tingling, burning and other types of discomfort. But there are solutions that can help reduce the frequency and severity of sciatic pain.

These treatments can be combined with or complement traditional medicine.

Physical therapy

These exercises are designed to address specific nerve and pain points using a variety of healing techniques including:

  • Core strengthening exercises
  • Muscle energy techniques
  • Spinal stabilization 
  • Traction
exercise equipments
Physical stretching


This is an effective way to help strengthen the muscles and nerves in the spine and legs. It also helps to alleviate pressure and increase flexibility. The most popular types of stretching exercises include: 

  • Child pose
  • Knee hugs
  • Supine twist
  • Thread the needle
  • Cobbler’s pose

Limited bed rest

Getting bed rest is key to treating sciatica pain, but remember, too much bed rest can prolong or worsen your pain, so take bed rest as needed.

alarm clock and sleeping woman
Chiropractor in Mississauga

Hot and cold packs

A mix of heat and cold can help reduce the pain and inflation in the affected area. Start with cold packs first, then switch to heat. 

Painkillers are one of the quickest ways to experience relief from sciatica pain. Traditional medications should be enough to help improve mobility. 

  • Over-the-counter pain medications, such as NSAIDs
  • Prescription muscle relaxants
  • Antidepressants
  • Prescription medications for chronic pain

Consult with your healthcare provider if the medication does not work or the pain becomes worse. You may require steroid injections or other spinal nerve treatment, such as surgery.

Acupuncture Points for Sciatica 

Acupuncture for nerve pain is one of the most effective forms of sciatica treatment. 

There are four common areas that your acupuncturist will address to relieve sciatica pain.

needle acupuncture
back massaging

L4 Vertebra

The L4 and L5 vertebrae are where you’ll find the sciatic nerve. You may be experiencing pain in your thigh, knees, and inner part of the leg.

L5 Vertebra

In this case, the pain is located in the L5 nerve root. It can go from the top of the foot to the back of the thigh, especially in the big toe.

l5 vertebra
Chiropractor working patient


If the sacral nerve is affecting your sciatica, then you will experience pain in the back of the leg, particularly the bottom of the foot and outside the foot.

Acupuncture and Sciatica Pain Relief

Acupuncture is one of the most well-respected forms of traditional Chinese medicine. Countless patients have experienced relief from sciatica pain thanks to the efforts of trained acupuncturists who understand the source of your pain. 

Acupuncture for sciatica works by inserting a fine needle into the trigger points in the body. These points respond to the needs, creating a healing response that stimulates the brain, sending natural painkillers throughout the body. It also boosts circulation to pain areas and relaxes the muscles throughout the body. 

Acupuncture is a treatment that uses the body’s energy force or Qi/Chi to heal itself. When the Chi is blocked, illness and other health problems can develop. The application of acupuncture stimulates points in the body, reducing inflammation and alleviating pain.

Acupuncture on shoulder
Acupuncture on upperback

The brain releases neurotransmitters and painkillers, which in turn lessen or eliminate sciatic pain by stimulating the hypothalamic-pituitary system, which regulates serotonin and dopamine. This gives you a feeling of relaxation and improves your overall mood. 

These acupoints are located in the lower back and leg. When stimulated, muscle tension is reduced and circulation is improved. This releases endorphins to the area, helping the body heal. Acute sciatica sufferers will usually experience relief within three sessions. Those with chronic sciatica may require additional treatments depending on the underlying issue:

  • Disc herniation
  • Stenosis
  • Bone spurs

Your acupuncturist will be able to track your success and provide you with advice on follow-up care and symptom management.

Contact Us

If you need sciatic pain relief, contact our professional and friendly team at Mississauga Health & Wellness Centre. Our experts will help you discover how to fix sciatic nerve pain.