Acupuncture as an effective alternative to Opioids in the treatment of Sciatica


A wide range of medications are used to help manage the pain of sciatica. Over the counter medication (NSAIDS) such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen are common choices. If this does not control the pain their doctor may provide stronger prescription medication. However these medication may come with side effects such as addiction, heart damage, liver damage, and GI bleeding. Because of its overuse the U.S. is currently experiencing a crisis known as the opioid epidemic.

Acupuncture has been shown to be more effective than opioids. In a systematic review comparing 122 relevant studies. Opioids were not found to be as effective as Acupuncture and manipulation.

“Comparative clinical effectiveness of management strategies for sciatica: systematic review and network meta-analyses. Spine J. 2015 Jun 1;15(6):1461-77. doi: 10.1016/j.spinee.2013.08.049. Epub 2013 Oct 4.” Retrieved from

Sciatica and lumbar herniated discs, can fully heal and resolve given the proper time and treatment. Acupuncture can promote the healing of herniated discs. There are cases and studies that show pre and post treatment with MRI. With the imaging results showing considerable improvement while patients experienced no pain.

Here at LES Acupuncture & Bodywork we begin by correctly diagnosing where the area of dysfunction is occurring. Sciatica or sciatic nerve compression normally occurs in the lumbar spine as a result from lumbar herniated discs. We use a combination of traditional acupuncture, modern Neurofunctional Acupuncture, and electro acupuncture to address the condition. The treatments may also consist of Chinese cupping and Manual therapy depending on the severity.