Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: sciatica | acupuncture | MRI | back | pain | lifting | heavy

I Need Sciatica Relief

Monday, 16 April 2012 04:59 PM

Question: I am having recurring sciatica problems about twice a year. My job requires me to lift heavy boxes and stand on my feet for long periods of time. I have been getting acupuncture treatments and it seems to help for a while, but the pain always comes back. It is painful all the way down my leg and my foot tingles. Do you think I need to see a doctor about getting an MRI to find the cause of the pain?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
When performed properly by trained practitioners, acupuncture can be a safe and effective therapy for back pain. Several studies have found that acupuncture can help reduce chronic back pain and improve daily activities. However, acupuncture is not really a cure, and if your back pain doesn't begin to improve over time, it may not be the right treatment for you. There could be many causes for your back pain that need to be examined. Your back is an intricate structure composed of bones, discs, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. So your back pain can arise from problems with any of these parts. Visiting your doctor is essential to assess and pinpoint if nerves are involved and examine which group of muscles are involved. To “see” whats going on, an X-ray is usually the first imaging test ordered. If you have already had one, an MRI is a sensitive test to diagnose your sciatic pain. So visiting your doctor is definitely warranted. And do think about changing your job, because lifting heavy boxes can trigger your back pain and make it recur. If you must continue to lift something heavy, follow these tips: let your lower extremities do the work, move straight up and down, keep your back straight and bend only at the knees, hold the load close to your body, avoid lifting and twisting simultaneously. Finally, if the object is heavy or awkward or if you are fatigued, ask for another person’s help.

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Acupuncture can provide pain relief but it is not a cure for sciatica.
Monday, 16 April 2012 04:59 PM
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