If acupuncture is a mainstay of sciatica nerve treatment under Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM), then acupressure is closely related to it. The basic principles of acupressure are the same as acupuncture:
- Identification of cause of sciatica on the basic principles of yin-yang.
- Earmarking pressure points called meridians.
- Unblock what is known as Qi, the vital energy force.
Acupressure differs from acupuncture only in the procedure adopted to release Qi. Acupuncture involves insertion of needles at the pressure points. Acupressure attempts to achieve the same results by applying consistent pressure at the same meridians.
The specialist uses thumbs, fingers and elbows depending upon the amount of pressure required. For sciatica pain, it is advised to find the center of the depression at the side of both the buttocks. Hard pressure is then applied on both sides simultaneously. It is important that the pressure applied is hard since the pressure points lie deep below the skin. The pressure has to be consistent and kept until the count of 15. The idea is to free the sciatic nerve from muscular tension and entrapment.
Sciatica pain is a symptom of a disease and not an ailment in its own right. Whether it is chronic, mild or episodic, the primary objective of acupressure is to relieve pain before determining the underlying cause. Sciatica pain is mostly caused by the compression of a sciatic nerve root that exits from under the spine and extends along both legs via the buttocks. The compression can be due to trauma, natural narrowing of the spinal cord or degeneration due to advancing age. Bad posture can also cause a pinched nerve and cause sciatica pain.
Both acupuncture and acupressure specialists recommend additional alternative sciatica remedies to be used in conjunction with these dedicated procedures. One gentle exercise that is particularly recommended is the knee to chest exercise. Lie on the floor and bring your knees to the chest and hold for a while.
Alternative therapies have one thing in common – the remedies recommended as part of an alternative approach are all natural and avoid the use of any kind of synthetic products. Due to this one common factor, it has been observed that there are lots of commonalities in alternative sciatica remedies adopted by different therapies. The knee to chest exercise is also one of the exercises that are suggested among others by the yoga experts to relieve sciatica pain. Similarly application of heat on the pressure points is another alternative sciatica remedy that is common among all therapies.
Besides being holistic and natural in their approach, some of the advantages of alternative therapies include these factors:
- They are free from side effects.
- They do not cost much.
- Some of them are easy to follow at home.
- They address the root cause rather than suppressing pain temporarily.
- Most of them focus on strengthening the body and its immune system.
- Alternative therapies like homeopathy, which involve ingesting naturally prepared remedies, are instrumental in treating certain hidden symptoms of other ailments along with sciatica.
There has been a marked increase in the popularity of alternative therapies in recent years. Acupressure is one among the various alternative remedies that have found favor since it does not require the patient to ingest medication. It should be noted that acupressure treatment should only be performed by a fully certified specialist because sometimes pressure applied at the wrong place can lead to complications.