The Mayo Clinic definition of sciatica from August, 2015 states that it is pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg ending just below the knee. There are two types of sciatica: acute (caused by recent injury) and chronic (recurring). Most people who experience sciatica will usually have pain on one side of their body.
Though there are many causes for sciatica, from slipped or herniated discs to infections or injuries, in many cases there is no immediately obvious cause. Sciatica is a symptom not a condition; anything that irritates the sciatic nerve can bring about this symptom.
In the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine, pain is created by blockages (stagnation) in a person’s chi (energy) and blood. When the body’s energy is flowing freely, we are pain free. Most times when I treat sciatica I will work along the gall bladder meridian which flows exactly through the path of the sciatic pain. Sometimes the bladder meridian will also be involved. The bladder meridian travels down the back parallel to the spine, through the center of the buttocks, through the center of the back of the thigh and lower leg to the lateral side of ankle ending in the fifth toe.
When we look at these two meridians from the bodymind connection we know that Gall Bladder is associated with decision making and every day stress. In today’s society there’s plenty of stress to navigate each day. The Bladder is associated with the amount of rest we get each day and also with Kidney energy. We can see how long stressful days and inadequate rest can create an imbalance (blockage) in these meridians. The solutions: get adequate rest, have your energy balanced, exercise, especially stretching.