WHAT IS SCIATICA?
According to the ABS 1 in 6 Australians live with back pain for a period of 6 months or more (ABS, 2015) Sciatica is a term that most people are familiar with, for those that aren't here is a simple definition. Sciatica is pain affecting the back, hip, and outer side of the leg, caused by compression of a spinal nerve root in the lower back, often owing to degeneration of an intervertebral disc. Some people may also consider leg pain or lower back pain with leg pain referral as sciatica. For our purposes today we are specifically referring to sciatica with a neurological cause.
We will restrict the research here to systematic reviews as they are considered a high level of evidence. There are three main reviews that we will focus on, all were published in 2015.
1. Lewis et. al. (2015) reviewed 122 studies, 90 of which were randomised control or quasi randomised control studies (RCT). This Systematic review looked at a number of interventions including acupuncture such as surgery, nonopioid medications, spinal manipulation etc. he findings supported the use of acupuncture. It was also reported that acupuncture was 2nd out of all of the interventions for its global effect and reduction of pain intensity.
2. Qin et. al. (2015) reviewed 11 RCT's, 10 which were comparing acupuncture to medication and 1 was comparing acupuncture to a sham control. This review found acupuncture maybe more effective than anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen, meloxicam, and diclofenac in reducing leg and lower back pain. It also reported that acupuncture may enhance the effect of medications. The authors identified that because of the lack of high quality, rigorous RCTS"s in the review that the evidence was limited and further well designed and Larger RCT's were required to confirm these findings.
3. Ji et. al. (2015) included 12 studies in their systematic review. Similar to the previous study they found acupuncture to be a safe and well tolerated intervention and effective for the treatment of sciatic pain. They also reported being unable to draw definite conclusions due to the lack of quality studies.
There is moderate evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating sciatica, and it is considered safe and well tolerated, but as with any other therapy, it can be occasionally associated with adverse effects in individual cases (McDonald and Janz 2016). Acupuncture can be a treatment option for those with Sciatica. Call our clinic today to see if we can help you.
Based in Melbourne, the Coburg Acupuncture clinic is located in the heart of Coburg on Sydney Rd and provides Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage and cupping services. The Coburg Clinic services people from Coburg and surrounding Northern suburbs such as Brunswick, Pascoe Vale, Preston, Fawkner, Thornbury, Northcote. We have a special interest in working with musculoskeletal and pain disorders, anxiety, stress, fertility, IVF, and woman's health.
Call us to arrange an appointment on 03 9041 6569 or click the button below
ABS. ‘Table 2.3 Summary health characteristics — States and territories, Proportion of persons’, National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15, 2015 cat. no. 4364.0.55.001,
Ji M, Wang X, Chen M, Shen Y, Zhang X, Yang J. The Efficacy of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:192808.
Lewis RA, Williams NH, Sutton AJ, Burton K, Din NU, Matar HE, et al. Comparative clinical effectiveness of management strategies for sciatica: systematic review and network meta-analyses. Spine J. 2015 Jun 1;15(6):1461-77.
McDonald, John & Janz, Stephen. The Acupuncture Evidence Project : A Comparative Literature Review (Revised). Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association Ltd, Coorparoo 2016
Qin Z, Liu X, Wu J, Zhai Y, Liu Z. Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Treating Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:425108. 198.