Sciatica Points

Acupuncture Points used for Sciatic Pain

Posted by TH Tanaka, Jan 05, 2014

Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis, rather it is a term used to describe the patient’s symptoms that involve a radiating pain, tingling, and numbness along the sciatic nerve.  The sciatic nerve branches from the lower back through buttocks, legs and feet.

The sciatic nerve can get irritated or compressed by various underlying causes, including herniated disc (or bulging disc), spondylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, piriformis syndrome, spinal tumor or spinal infection. The response to the acupuncture treatment largely depends on the underlying cause of the sciatica.

When acupuncture is deemed applicable to treat this condition, an acupuncturist may determine the type of sciatica based on the patient’s body constitution.  In addition, acupuncture needles may be administered specifically to the affected nerve root and its branches.

 

Standard and Non-Standard Sciatica Acupuncture Points

The sciatic nerve forms as one thick nerve at the inferior border of Piriformis muscle (gluteus region), the specific treatment applied to this area is vitally important for both L5 and S1 impingement cases.  However, standard acupuncture points in the region such as BL63 or BL64 are often insufficient to produce a desired effect.  Therefore, experienced acupuncturists use one or more extra-acupuncture points, located either superior, inferior, medial, or lateral from the BL63 or BL64.

Figure 1:

Acupuncture points used for sciatic pain condition - low back and hip regions

One to three points are chosen based on pain distributions, point palpation and findings from physical examinations such as deep tendon reflexes and muscle testing.

 

Other Sciatica Acupuncture Points: L5 Nerve Root Involvement (L4/L5)

BL25: Dachangshu 大腸兪  In the lumbar region, at the same level as the inferior border of the spinous process of the fourth lumbar vertebra (L4), 1.5 Bcun lateral to the posterior median line.

 

BL26: Guanyuanshu  関元兪  In the lumbar region, at the same level as the inferior border of the spinous process of the fifth lumbar vertebra (L5), 1.5 B-cun lateral to the posterior median line.

 

ST40: Fenglong  豊隆 On the anterolateral aspect of the leg, lateral border of the tibialis anterior muscle, 8 B-cun superior to the prominence of the lateral malleolus.

 

BL58: Feiyang 飛揚 On the posterolateral aspect of the leg, between the inferior border of the lateral head of the gastrocnemius muscle and the calcaneal tendon, at the same level as 7 Bcun proximal to BL60.

GB35: Yangjiao 陽交 On the fibular aspect of the leg, posterior to the fibula, 7 B-cun proximal to the prominence of the lateral malleolus.

 

ST42: Chongyang 衝陽 On the dorsum of the foot, at the joint of the base of the second metatarsal bone and the intermediate cuneiform bone, over the dorsalis pedis artery.

 

LR3: Taichong 太衝 On the dorsum of the foot, between the first and second metatarsal bones, in the depression distal to the junction of the bases of the two bones, over the dorsalis pedis artery.

Other Sciatica Acupuncture Points: S1 Nerve Root Involvement (L5/S1)

BL26: Guanyuanshu 関元兪 In the lumbar region, at the same level as the inferior border of the spinous process of the fifth lumbar vertebra (L5), 1.5 B-cun lateral to the posterior median line.

 

BL27: Xiaochangshu 小腸兪 In the sacral region, at the same level as the first posterior sacral foramen, and 1.5 B-cun lateral to the median sacral crest. Note: At the same level as BL31.

 

BL31: Shangliao 上髎  In the sacral region, in the first posterior sacral foramen.

 

BL59: Fuyang 跗陽  On the posterolateral aspect of the leg, between the fibula and the calcaneal tendon, at the same level as 3 B-cun proximal to BL60.

 

BL60: Kunlun 崑崙 On the posterolateral aspect of the ankle, in the depression between the prominence of the lateral malleolus and the calcaneal tendon.

 

GB41: Zulinqi 足臨泣 On the dorsum of the foot, distal to the junction of the bases of the fourth and fifth metatarsal bones, in the depression lateral to the fifth extensor digitorum longus tendon.

Figure 2:

Acupuncture Points for Sciatic pain - leg and foot regions

One to three points are chosen based on pain distributions, point palpation and findings from physical examinations such as deep tendon reflexes and muscle testing.

 

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