This condition is caused by either nerve root impingement and/or inflammation and causes pain and possibly numbness in the areas that are served by the affected nerve roots. Pain can be experienced in the back or side of the leg, right down to the foot or toes. Accompanying or initial low back pain is often a factor.
There is evidence to suggest that acupuncture may provide pain relief for this condition in much the same way as the mechanisms described above for low back pain, and in addition by causing a transient change in sciatic nerve blood flow. (Inoue 2008)
For further information regarding acupuncture research and Sciatica, see British Acupuncture Council website factsheets.