What is Sciatica?

Sciatica can be stubborn and difficult to treat. Even if medication provides relief, rarely is it a long term solution. For a long term solution, acupuncture should be considered.

Sciatica is a nerve like pain which can vary in severity and location. The one constant is its cause. Sciatica is a pain caused by an impingement or inflammation of the sciatic nerve. Other causes include trauma, disc herniation, improper administration of injection, osteoarthritis of the lower spine, dislocated hip and pressure from pregnancy.

Sciatic Nerve Branches – Constitute Largest Nerve in the Body

The Sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body running from the buttock down the lateral and posterior aspect of the leg to the lateral aspect of the foot. The word sciatic means “of the hip”. It is actually two separate nerves — the tibial and the common peroneal — which are bound together by a sheath of connective tissue. They spilt into their respective parts at the knee. The tibial branch runs down the back of the leg, some posterolateral aspects and ends at the bottom of the foot. The common peroneal wraps around the fibula head, runs down the lateral calf and some anterolateral aspects of the leg ending at the middle of the calf.

Given how many different areas of the leg and foot the tibial and common peroneal branches run through, it makes sense that there are many different presentations of sciatica.


The route which the sciatic nerve travels, in part, overlaps with two acupuncture channels: the bladder channel and the gallbladder channel. The bladder channel runs the entire length of the back of the body, including the buttock, back of the leg and the lateral aspect of the calf.

The gallbladder channel travels down the side of the body, including the hips, lateral thigh and lateral anterior aspect of the calf. Often when a patient presents with sciatica, one or both of these channels are involved. Often there is a blockage or an external pathogen has invaded the channel. Needling one or both of these channels can often provide immediate and long term relief.

If you have question or would like to make an appointment call Elizabeth at +1 917-968-2854.