Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 192808, 12 pages
Review Article

The Efficacy of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

1College of Basic Medicine, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing 210023, China
2Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Prevention and Treatment of Tumor, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing 210023, China

Received 18 June 2015; Revised 29 July 2015; Accepted 9 August 2015

Academic Editor: Morry Silberstein

Copyright © 2015 Mei Ji et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Sciatica is one of the most frequently reported complaints; it affects quality of life and reduces social and economic efficacy. Clinical studies on the efficacy of acupuncture therapy in sciatica are increasing, while systematic reviews assessing the efficacy of acupuncture therapy are still lacking. Objective. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture therapy for sciatica. Methods. Comprehensive searches of 8 databases were conducted up until April 2015. Outcomes included effectiveness (proportion of patients who improved totally or partly in clinical symptoms), pain intensity, and pain threshold. Effect sizes were presented as risk ratio (RR) and mean difference (MD). Pooled effect sizes were calculated by fixed effects or random effects model. Results. A total of 12 studies (involving 1842 participants) were included. Results showed that acupuncture was more effective than conventional Western medicine (CWM) in outcomes effectiveness (RR 1.21, 95% CI: 1.16–1.25), pain intensity (MD −1.25, 95% CI: −1.63 to −0.86), and pain threshold (MD: 1.08, 95% CI: 0.98–1.17). Subgroup and sensitivity analysis found that the results did not change in different treatment method and drug categories substantially. The reported adverse effects were acceptable. Conclusions. Acupuncture may be effective in treating the pain associated with sciatica.