Sciatica is a symptom, not a diagnosis. Normally there is pain in the buttock, which then radiates down the leg. The pain either goes down the back of the leg, or down the side. In Traditional Chinese medicine this relates to the Bladder and Gall Bladder channels. This is not to say that there is a problem with your Bladder or Gall Bladder! Within Traditional Chinese Acupuncture it is possible (and very common) to have a problem in the acupuncture channel but not to have any problem with the related organ.
To treat this condition, acupuncture points are palpated in and around the troublesome areas, and various points are needled. Good results are often achieved.
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Frequently, sciatica-type pain is caused by muscle spasm impinging on the sciatic nerve. Acupuncture is very effective at reducing muscle spasm, and the results can be instantaneous. The diagram to the left has a muscle marked in red. This is called the 'piriformis' and is often involved with sciatica-type pain.
When this muscle is in spasm, it will shorten and so increase in diameter. The sciatica nerve runs behind the piriformis muscle and in front of the pelvic bone, thus there is very little room for the nerve! When the muscle goes into spasm, it presses on the nerve and refers pain into the buttock and down the leg.