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Grounding Yourself with Acupressure

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

When your life is in transition, and everything seems like it's spiraling out of control, getting yourself to a more grounded state is essential to restore your peace and sense of security.

But how do you ground yourself? And what does it mean exactly?

To be grounded means you have an overall feeling of stability, safety, and assurance that everything will be okay. When you are grounded, you function better as you feel more centered and secure. However, this can be a difficult state to achieve, especially when the turmoil is coming from outside factors (i.e. a pandemic) as well as from within yourself (fear, anxiety, worry).

Understanding the connection between the mind and body can help you to achieve a grounded state. When you work on your body, you are working on your mind, and when you heal your mind, you can heal your body. Physical practices such as Yoga and Taiji (Tai Chi) are powerful tools to facilitate grounding as they help connect and integrate your mind and body.

Walking in your bare feet and getting out into nature are other ways to ground yourself. You literally establish a direct connection with the Earth. While not everyone has access to nature, if you are fortunate enough to surround yourself with the natural world… take off your shoes... take a breath… and take it all in.

Another way to ground yourself is through meditation. Not only does meditation clear your mind, but it also resets your nervous system, reduces your heart rate, and improves clarity and focus.

But what if you can't practice Yoga or Taiji, get outside, or are having problems meditating? Acupressure is a simple yet powerful tool for grounding yourself. Examples of grounding acupressure points are Kidney 3, Stomach 36, and Kidney 1.

  • Kidney 3 (Taixi) brings awareness back to your body, calms your emotions, and nourishes you from the inside out. It is located in the depression between your Achille's tendon and your inside ankle bone. Be gentle when applying pressure to this tender point... try using your ring finger to start.
  • Stomach 36 (Zusanli) can help ground you by stimulating the production of Qi and Blood that provide the energy and nutrients to nourish your entire body. It is located on your shin below the kneecap, about a finger's width lateral to the tibial tuberosity – that little bump on the kneecap.
  • Another acupressure point that is wonderful for grounding is Kidney 1 (Yong Quan). Perhaps, the ultimate grounding point, Kidney 1 establishes both a physical and energetic connection to the Earth. It is located on the ball of your foot, in between your first and second toes. On a personal note, if I am overwhelmed and stressed out, I imagine sending waves of energy to the souls of my feet, specially to Kidney 1. I find that I feel much calmer and am better able to focus.

Returning to center and remaining in a state of peace can seem impossible when life is spinning out of your control.  And I am still learning how to stay grounded when things get a little crazy.  A lot of times I feel scattered and overwhelmed.  Tools such as Yoga, Taiji, mediation, and acupressure have helped me along my journey back to center.  Perhaps you will find that they help you as well.  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and I would be happy to chat.

Shifting Seasons

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

With everything shifting, it seems we are searching for a sense of stability. The seasons are changing... the weather is changing...

And then there is the impact of the pandemic.

We feel like we are swinging on a pendulum. Or maybe we feel like we are being thrashed about in an ocean storm.

But it’s time to get off of pendulum. Stop fighting the waves and let the calm overtake you.

How do we do this when we are endlessly tossed around?

We have to realize that we have the power to step off the pendulum anytime we choose... that once we can control the storm inside of ourselves, the waves calm on their own.

Imagine yourself on a violently swinging pendulum. If you take a breath really open your eyes, you will see that there is solid ground right in front of you. Can you do it? Can you take that breath?

Good.

Now… take the leap.

Close your eyes.

Take another breath… and 1.. 2… 3… Jump…

The Earth will catch you.

Were you able to leap?

Whether you were or not… it’s okay.  The most important thing is that you realize that you are on the pendulum. It’s not to get the pendulum to stop… It’s to understand that you don’t need to be on it.

Sounds simple?

Well… personally, it took me years to realize I was even on a pendulum and many months to make the leap.

How did I do it? I had support. Through meditation, visualization, the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and Faith I was able to take the leap onto solid ground.

There are many tools available to prime your body to ground your spirit. Acupressure can help you to gently stimulate points on your body to prepare you to take that leap. I would like to share with you some acupressure points that can help you ground yourself and weather the storm.

Kidney 3 (Taixi)

This point is extremely grounding and can help to bring your awareness back into your body. In TCM, the Kidneys are responsible for supporting the entire body and spirit.  Kidney 3 is located on the inside of your ankle, in the depression between the ankle bone and the Achilles tendon.  This point may be tender, so be gentle when applying pressure. 

Stomach 36 (Zusanli)

Not only does Stomach 36  help you to ground yourself, it also nourish the Qi and Blood of your entire body.  Stomach 36 is located on the shin below the kneecap, about a finger's width lateral to the tibial tuberosity - that little bump below the knee cap.  Even though this point is tender, you may find that you have increased energy and focus after stimulating it for a few minutes.

Ren 17 and Pericardium 6 (Nei Guan)

Ren 17 and Pericardium 6 work together to relieve stress and tension and help you to find your center of calm.  Ren 17 is located on the center of your chest on your sternum.  You can find it if you count down four ribs starting from your clavicle.  You may apply pressure or you may find that gently tapping this point helps to break up some of that "stuck" feeling.  Pericardium 6 is located on the inside of the forearm, a few inches above the wrist crease. To find, take the index, middle, and ring fingers of your opposite hand and place them on the crease. Pericardium 6 is located between the two tendons (palmaris longus and flexor carpi radialis).

Start with Ren 17 to break up of the tension and stagnation and finish with Pericardium 6 to draw the energy away from your chest, so your body and it's Meridians can better process it.

Yintang

This point is an absolute essential for opening your vision and finding clarity.  It's located right between your eyebrows and can also help to reduce any headaches or dizziness that you may be experiencing due to stress.

 

Remember...  be gentle with yourself.  Start by applying firm but gentle pressure with your ring finger to the points.  You can always add more.  The wonderful thing about using acupressure on yourself is that you learn to listen to your body.

If you are struggling with the shifting seasons in your life, stimulating these points can help you to connect with your body and find support within yourself.  But you don't need to do this alone.  If you would like some help, please feel free to contact me. and I would be happy to support you. 

Seven Soothing Acupressure Points to Calm Your Anxious Child

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

When your child is all twisted up inside, what do you do? It kills you as a parent to see them  so upset.

Especially if your child has autism, ADHD, PANS, or PTSD, they may be more likely to  experience anxiety.

In these times of uncertainty, the tension in society, schools, and even in families is at an all-  time high and kids are picking up on it.  Fortunately, there are so many safe and natural ways  to help kids manage anxiety, such as holding them, essential oils, counseling, and  meditation. 

Acupressure is another great way to sooth stress for kids.  Let's learn about  seven great points to calm your anxious child.  

1. Yintang                                                                                                                                                                                      This calming point is located on the forehead, right between the eyebrows. Press                Yintang for one to five minutes and your child will begin to relax.  Yintang also relieves  headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

2. Pericardium 6 (Nei Guan)                                                                                                                                        This "super point" is located on the inside of the forearm, a few inches above the wrist  crease. To find, take the index, middle, and ring fingers of your child's opposite hand and  place them on the crease. Pericardium 6 is located between the two tendons (palmaris  longus and flexor carpi radialis). Apply light pressure, as this can be a sensitive spot.  Pericardium 6 is calming when anxiety and tension causes pain in the chest and stomach,  heavy breathing and hyperventilation, and helps to relieve nausea and other tummy  troubles.  

3. Pericardium 8 (Lau Gong)                                                                                                                        Pericardium 8 is a wonderful point for sharing energy between you and your child. It is  located between the 2nd and 3rd metacarpal bones in the central depression of the palm.  This point calms the spirit and the emotions, and is especially good when anxiety makes your child feel hot and sweaty. If you want to give your child a relaxing hand massage, apply gentle, but firm pressure on Pericardium 6, and perform light strokes with your thumbs (10 - 20 x) to Pericardium 8. Finish off by applying circular motions for one to three minutes at Pericardium 8 and see how quickly your child starts to laugh. 

4. Heart 7 (Shen Men)                                                                                                                                                              Heart 7 is located at the ulnar end of the wrist crease, just inside the flexor carpi ulnaris  tendon. It's great for when your child's anxiety is causing palpitations, a racing heartbeat,  fright, poor memory, and difficulty sleeping.  

5. Stomach 36 (Zusanli)                                                                                                                                          Stomach 36 is located on the shin below the kneecap, about a finger's width lateral to the  tibial tuberosity - that little bump below the knee cap. The point is usually tender, but it's  worth pressing because it is so beneficial to your child. In addition to helping your child to  attain a more grounded sensation, Stomach 36 treats nearly all digestive problems such as  indigestion, heartburn, nausea, bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. It also has been  shown to help dizziness and boost the immune system.  

6. Spleen 6 (Sanyinjiao)                                                                                                                                            Spleen 6 is especially great for pre-teen and teenage girls for regulating hormones. It relaxes the uterus and can relieve menstrual cramps. To find Spleen 6, measure up from the inside ankle bone with your child's index, middle, and ring fingers to the slight depression on  the inside of the leg.  Spleen 6 nourishes Qi (energy) of the entire body. It calms the blood and corrects the urinary channel. Because of its strong effect on the uterus, Spleen 6 should not be used during pregnancy. 

7. Liver 3 (Tai Chong)                                                                                                                                                          Liver 3 is located on the top of the foot in the junction of the 1st and 2nd metatarsals. This is  another "super point" that in addition to soothing anxiety, it helps to balance hormones, reduce stress-related headaches, and can help with dizziness and difficulty sleeping, while regulating menstruation. 

Acupressure Tip                                                                                                                                                                        Before you give your child acupressure, try it on yourself first.  Kids can be sensitive and pressure feels different.  You can also practice on a tomato or a similar piece of fruit with soft skin.  Remember, you can always apply more pressure, but in the beginning, it's best to start soft.

You can use all of these points together, or you can pick and choose the ones you feel are best for your child. Certain points might be uncomfortable for kids, especially kids with sensory processing disorders.  My daughter doesn't like the inside of her wrist being touched, but is comfortable with everything else. Just be gentle and explore this process with your child.

I've developed a "step-by-step" process to apply these acupressure points, along with personalized strategies that are designed for your child's specific needs.  If you have any questions, contact me and I would be happy to help.

Can Chiropractic Help Kids with Autism?

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

With all of the "gimmicks" and "cures" out there, any "non-mainstream" treatment that promises to help kids with autism is subject to skepticism. And rightly so... As the mother of a child with autism, many people often recommend the latest "cure" for my daughter.

So does chiropractic care cure autism? No.

But can it help kids who are on the spectrum? Yes.

Please allow me to explain... I don't believe there is a "cure" for my daughter because I don't think that there is anything "wrong" with her. To me, she is perfect. It's not like she has some terrible, life-threatening disease that completely debilitates her. She just needs some extra support.

And chiropractic care has provided that support ever since she was little.

Chiropractic adjustments offer a safe and gentle way to manage pain. Kids, like adults, get hurt and want relief. They play, run, jump, and fall. Everyday tasks, like carrying heavy book bags, can create problems in the neck and back. Kids with autism are no different. Musculoskeletal pain can even trigger certain behaviors and "meltdowns." Just because they can't verbally tell you that they hurt doesn't mean that they aren't.

Chiropractic also helps to facilitate digestion. In my experience, kids with autism have sensitive tummies and often experience gas, cramping, constipation, or diarrhea. By gently stimulating the nervous system, restoring proper vertebral motion, and loosening tight muscles, chiropractic care can encourage normal peristalsis and relieve digestive discomfort.

One of the premises of a chiropractic adjustment is to stimulate the nervous system. Some kids with autism have problems with their nervous system.

In 2012, Kushki, Brian, Dupuis, and Anagnostou found that autism spectrum disorder is associated with autonomic dysregulation. A chiropractic adjustment directly affects the vertebral joints of the spine; therefore, it directly affects the spinal cord and central nervous system. The balance to the central nervous system that a chiropractic adjustment provides, may create calm in children with autism.

When treating children, chiropractors will often modify their treatments and use more gentle techniques. A sign of a good chiropractor is one who will never pressure your child into doing something he or she doesn't want to do. And while all kids require patience, kids with autism may require just a little bit more. There is no rush and this should be a fun and relaxing event for both you and your child.

If you have any questions about how chiropractic can help your child, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to talk with you.

Chiropractic Care

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

Chiropractic care focuses on the health of the spine and its surrounding tissues by facilitating nerve conduction and circulation. This is accomplished by a corrective procedure called an adjustment. The purpose of an adjustment is to provide maximum nerve conduction and circulation, proper alignment, range of motion, and increase optimal function. Chiropractic care uses no drugs and may or may not incorporate different therapies such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation.

Different Adjustment Techniques

There are many different ways an adjustment can be performed, and each chiropractor possesses their own, unique style. One common method is "diversified," or the osseous adjustment. Osseous adjustments are most commonly associated with chiropractic care, because they produce the "cracking" sound, or cavitation. A cavitation is the sound produced when trapped gas leaves a joint. Osseous adjustments take a joint to end-range and deliver a high-velocity/low-amplitude thrust. Though osseous adjustments may sound rough, they can be very gentle and relief is often felt immediately.

Another popular adjustment method uses an activator. An activator is a spring-loaded instrument that delivers an impulse to a vertebra or other joint, and stimulates nerve conduction. Though osseous adjustments are perfectly safe, an activator can be more gentle because there is no stress on the joints, discs, blood vessels, or bones. Activators are often used with patients with osteoporosis, extremely high blood pressure, or are recovering from a stroke or surgery. Some patients prefer activator activator adjustments simply because they are more comfortable, or they don't like the sound that the cavitation produces. 

A drop table is another tool that chiropractors use for adjusting. Drop tables are specialized chiropractic tables that allow for adjustments to be lighter and more specific. The table has sections that elevate with a lever. Patients are positioned on the table and the chiropractor administers a light thrust to the joint. The speed of the table absorbs the impact of the force. Adjusting with drop tables work well for people with recent surgeries and disc problems. Flexible patients may drop table adjustments more comfortable than osseous adjustments.

Muscle Work is an Important Part of Treatment

Strictly speaking, an adjustment is not when a chiropractor works on your muscle tissue. However, because muscles are attached to bones (i.e. vertebra), healing the surrounding muscular tissue is an important part of treatment.

When the muscles are loosened and the "knots" are worked out, adjustments are more effective, gentle, and specific. Sometimes the work performed on the muscle tissue can be more intense than the actual adjustment. However, muscles recover faster than joints and the less stress the joints have to bare, the more comfortable the adjustment.

Sometimes muscles are contracted for so long, it is difficult for them to stay relaxed. They must then be re-educated so they learn not to "tighten up." This neuromuscular education allows the adjustments to hold for longer periods of time and achieves faster results.

Conditions Treated by Chiropractic Medicine

Chiropractic care is highly effective for relieving back and neck pain, but also treats a variety of ailments. It works with traumas due to sports-related injuries and motor vehicle accidents (whiplash). Chiropractic relieves headaches due to both tension and migraines and can also relieve symptoms of vertigo. It is also a very effective means used to manage disc herniations, stenosis, and neuropathy.

Receiving chiropractic adjustments may also benefit internal conditions. Because the nerves and blood vessels are affected, chiropractic can strengthen the immune system and improve digestion and respiration. Adjustments can break up mucus, relieve cough and congestion, and reduce asthma and allergy system.

Chiropractic medicine can also relieve gynecological complaints. By realigning the vertebrae and working with muscle tissue, the pain and discomfort associated with menstruation can be significantly reduced. Pregnant women also find relief from the physiological changes which affect posture, spinal alignment, and fluid distribution (i.e. swollen ankles). The Webster Technique is a specialized form of adjusting that assists in turning a baby in utero from a breech position into a healthy one.

How many times do I have to get treated?

Treatment duration vary upon individual needs. Some people need to be treated every four to six weeks, while others may require once a week. New patients and acute injuries may receive treatments close together for the first week until adequate progress has been made. Chronic conditions, such as neuropathy, may require more treatments before relief is felt. 

It has been said that chiropractic medicine is both an art and a science. Though styles and procedures may vary from doctor to doctor, the positive impact that it can have on the body is amazing.  Contact us today to find if chiropractic is right for you!

Acupuncture for Fibromyalgia Syndrome

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Fibromyalgia syndrome, or "fibromyalgia," is a disorder commonly associated with widespread pain throughout the body. However, there are many other accompanying symptoms, such as irritable bowel syndrome, difficulty with sleep, neurological pain, stress, and fatigue. Fibromyalgia is a “disease of exclusion,” meaning other illnesses must be ruled out before an official diagnosis can be made. This means that patients are subjected to a series of blood tests, urinalysis, and other various examinations and evaluations.

Though different treatment options are available, acupuncture is both gentle and effective in managing fibromyalgia.

How does Acupuncture Treat Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is usually treated based on symptoms. Many believe that fibromyalgia occurs when the nervous system overreacts to otherwise "normal" stimuli. Acupuncture calms the nervous system, allowing the body to better react to stimuli.

Acupuncture reduces the inflammation in people with fibromyalgia syndrome. It helps the body to metabolize excess water and better absorb nutrients from food. Acupuncture also improves circulation of the vascular system. Better circulation allows the body to receive more oxygen and other nutrients, improving function and decreasing pain.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), pain is a result of impaired Qi circulation. Acupuncture reduces pain because it regulates and restores the balance of energy in the body. Though reducing pain is a major component of any treatment, it is necessary to identify the underlying cause. With fibromyalgia, both the nature of the pain and the patient's constitution must be considered. In TCM, impaired Qi movement can be due to either an "excess" or a "deficient" condition.

In excess conditions, Qi is unable to move through the channels due to blockages. Pathogenic Qi, Blood, and Fluids accumulate, create friction, and cause pain. Acupuncture “breaks up” these blockages and encourages movement through the channels. Areas of stagnation and stasis commonly manifest in the form of inflammation, tight muscles, and “knots” or trigger points. Trigger points are bands of contracted muscle tissue. They often feel like nodules and are sensitive to touch and pressure.

In deficient conditions, the body is not producing enough Qi, or other vital substances, to function properly. Deficient conditions are manifested in symptoms of overall tenderness, aching, and fatigue.

Patients often present with both excess and deficiency symptoms. Treating the excess is relatively easy... Excess conditions can often (not always) be resolved in a few treatments. Treating pain related to a deficiency can be more complex. Treatments should be based on nourishment and boosting Qi. If treatments are too aggressive with a deficient condition, the patient can feel exhausted and run-down.

Can Acupuncture Cure Fibromyalgia Syndrome?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for fibromyalgia syndrome. Acupuncture helps to manage pain and reduce symptoms, but claiming that it "cures" fibromyalgia would be incorrect. However, relief is usually obtained in only a few visits. A treatment plan should be discussed with because symptoms will re-occur. Regular treatments will prevent flare-ups and reduce the intensity of the symptoms.

Treating fibromyalgia is all about balance. What works for one person may not work for another. A qualified health care provider should work with their patients to find the best treatment strategy possible.

Points to Consider

Spleen 21 (Dabao)

AKA the "fibromyalgia point," this acupuncture point is helps to alleviate aches and pains throughout the body. It is located on the mid-axillary line, between the sixth and seventh ribs.

Pericardium 6 (Neiguan)

An effective point for general pain relief. Pericardium 6 helps to relieve stress, nausea, and that feeling of tightness in the chest. It is located on the inside of the wrist, about two inches above the crease between the tendons of the palmaris longus and flexor radialis muscles.

Stomach 36 (Zusanli)

This acupuncture point has many benefits. In addition to giving the body a great energy boost, it can help to improve digestion, bloating, and benefits the muscles, ligaments, and tendon. It also helps for localized knee pain. Stomach 36 can also help coughing and asthma. It may even function to reduce stress. Plus, it has been shown to enhance the immune system of post-surgery rats with gastric carcinoma (Lai, Wang, Wang, Tang, Kong & Xu, 2008). It is located below the knee, between the fibular head and tibia, at the level of the tibial tuberosity.

Liver 3 (Taichong)

This point is located on the top of the foot in the depression between the first and second metatarsal bones. By soothing the Liver and coursing Qi throughout the body, Liver 3 is able to not only relieve pain, but it can also be used to calm stress, alleviate headaches, and benefit the eyes.

Hua Tuo Jia Ji Points

These are a series of 17 bilateral points located right next to the spinous processes. The spinous processes are the parts of the vertebra that are visible under the skin on the back. By stimulating these points, the nervous system is directly impacted. Since fibromyalgia is due to an overactive nervous system, utilizing the Hua Tuo Jia Ji points can have a dramatic effect on managing symptoms.

References

Lai, M., Wang, S., Wang, Y., Tang, C., Kong, L., & Xu, X. (2008). [Effects of electroacupuncture of "Zusanli" (ST 36), "Hegu" (LI 4) and/or "Sanyinjiao" (SP 9) on immunofunction in gastric carcinectomy rats]". Zhen Ci Yan Jiu, 4, 245-9. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=acupuncture stomach 36 white blood cells

Can Sciatica be Treated Without Drugs?

by Dr. Elizabeth Langer

Sciatica is form of peripheral neuropathy caused by irritation along the sciatic nerve. Pain may travel from the low back, into the gluteal region, and down past the knee. It is often described as sharp, burning, tingling, or numbness. Depending on the cause of sciatica, treatment and prognosis may vary.

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It begins between the fourth and fifth vertebra in the lumbar spine, travels through the gluteal muscles and down the back of the thigh. After passing the knee, it divides into two nerves: the tibial and peroneal nerve. The tibial nerve travels down to the feet to the heel and sole of the foot. The peroneal nerve travels along the side of the leg to the upper surface of the foot.

Anything that compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve can create pain. Common causes of sciatica include herniated discs, degenerative joint disease, spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis. Joint restrictions or misalignment of the lumbar vertebra or sacrum may also irritate the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve may become entrapped by a muscle, such as the piriformis. Serious conditions which may cause sciatia may include spondylolisthesis, fracture, or inflammation due to an underlying pathology. Hormonal changes, such as with pregnancy, may also create irritation of the sciatic nerve.

In addition to the pain, sciatica may create weakness in the muscles supplied by the nerve. The pain usually occurs in one leg and is irritated by prolonged sitting or standing. Pain may be relieved by lying down and light exercise, such as walking. Pain may increase after coughing, sneezing, or having a bowel movement.

To ensure an accurate diagnosis, an MRI, CT scan, or a bone scan may be recommended. Blood work and urinalysis may also be administered to rule out potential inflammatory conditions or kidney pathology.

Common Treatments

Depending on the cause of sciatica, treatment will vary. Common allopathic remedies include rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections, painkillers. Surgery may even be prescribed.

Though these remedies are fine for short-term use, for long-term management, problems may ensue. Rest is necessary for many ailments. It promotes healing and allows the body to recover. However, too much rest can create stiff joints and muscles, contribute to poor posture, weight gain, and decrease energy - making sciatica symptoms worse. Pain medication can help to make it through the day and ensure a better nights rest. However, pain medications should only be used temporarily. NSAIDS can create digestive problems, gastrointestinal bleeding, difficulty breathing, and may be linked to stroke. Pain killers can cause symptoms such as nausea, constipation, and may facilitate addictions.

Surgery is only effective 50% of the time and should only be used as a last resort. The problem with surgery is that it can sometimes make the symptoms of sciatica even worse. Too often, patients come for acupuncture or chiropractic care expecting to be relieved from surgical complications, but it can be very difficult to repair damage after bones have been cut, ligaments and tendons torn, and metal objects have been implanted.

Other remedies may include exercise, physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care.

Acupuncture for Sciatica

Acupuncture is a gentle and powerful method for resolving sciatica. It stimulates the nervous system and helps to heal and repair damaged nerves. Acupuncture is especially effective to relieve the burning, sharp, and shooting pain associated with sciatica.

There are many different treatment options available when treating any type of nerve pain. Some practitioners find success when applying needles along the affected nerve, while others have better results when using points which are more distally located. It all depends on the practitioner and patient.

Some practitioners may use adjunct therapies in addition to needles such as electrical stimulation, moxabustion, Tui Na, and cupping.

Chiropractic and Sciatica

Chiropractic care mobilizes joints, loosens muscles, and takes pressure off of the sciatic nerve.  Not only does it help to correct improper posture and misalignments, it stimulates the nervous system, fights inflammation, and helps to ensure proper circulation.

Depending on the cause of sciatica, symptoms usually resolved within a few weeks. Often, a chiropractor will recommend other modalities such as ultrasound, exercise, or electrical stimulation. It is important that patients follow their treatment plans and stay active in order to ensure that their pain is resolved and their symptoms do not return.

Exercise and Physical Therapy for Sciatica

In many cases of sciatica, stretching and strengthening the muscles in the back and hamstrings can take the pressure off of the sciatica nerve. Practicing yoga can be a wonderful form of sciatica relief.  Yoga poses, or asanas, facilitate motion in the joints of the spine and loosen tight hips, hamstrings, gluteal, and piriformis muscles. 

Sometimes people need a little extra help and physical therapy can be the solution for people suffering with sciatica.  A good physical therapist can help to monitor the progress of the patient, show different exercises, and ensure proper alignment.  Some physical therapists may offer soothing modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, ice and heat.  A good physical therapist can help patients with their exercises on a regular basis and prevent injury from reoccurring. 

 

Complications and Warnings

Treatment for sciatica is affected by the existence of pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. Sometimes health care practitioners forget to take these matters into consideration and may be too quick to recommend surgery or addictive pain medication.

Though usually not dangerous, there are instances when the pain due to sciatica warrants immediate care. Inform your health care provider immediately if there is complete loss of sensation or the if the pain is unremitting. If pain is experienced after a fall or injury, or occurs with a a fever, go to the emergency room. A complete loss of bladder and bowel control may indicate cauda equina syndrome and should be evaluated immediately.

Sciatica is often treatable and conservative methods should always be attempted before using more invasive procedures. Acupuncture and chiropractic care are both powerful methods in resolving sciatica, but there are many natural options available.