Relieving sciatica pain

Anyone who has had sciatica knows that it goes far beyond being just a pain in the leg. The effects of it permeate your every move day and night, even when you are just walking around the house or rolling over in bed.

Causes and symptoms

Sciatica is caused when the sciatic nerve is irritated or pinched.  The result is pain, numbness or tingling sensation anywhere along the pathway of the nerve.

Triggers are numerous. They include ageing of the discs, where they become less flexible, poor posture, incorrect lifting techniques, accidents, sports injuries as well as being common in pregnancy and childbirth. Other, less common causes are more serious health conditions such as spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis.

How sciatica affects you

The pain, tingling or numbness starts anywhere from your lower back or from your bottom. It will radiate either down the back of your leg or down the outside of your leg, sometimes right down to the ankle.

Sitting and standing for any length of time can cause an enormous amount of pain, as can sneezing or coughing.  The pain can be constant and tiring and could keep you awake at night. During the day, your movements are often restricted to avoid the pain shooting down your leg.

Conventional ways to tackle the pain

Common theories are that sciatic pain usually resolves itself in about six weeks and, for those who suffer longer, treatments are painkillers and anti-inflammatories. Stretches and exercises to mobilise and strengthen the core muscles that stabilise your back are often prescribed alongside pharmaceuticals. Hot and cold packs sometimes help to reduce inflammation.

How acupuncture can help

Acupuncture has been shown to be a very helpful treatment for sciatica.  At Cambourne Acupuncture we use a technique called electro-acupuncture.  Electrical pulses are applied to the acupuncture needles providing an effective and comfortable treatment.

There are many causes of sciatica. Inflammation caused by various lower disc problems and muscle tightness are responsible much of the time however. These causes both respond well to electro-acupuncture. There is no treatment like it, so the results can seem miraculous – especially if you have tried many other treatments with little relief.

Successful relief with acupuncture – Christine’s experience

Christine had been suffering with sciatica for over three years, but she noticed a change in the level of pain after just the first session of acupuncture.

“Acupuncture has been a very positive treatment for me. As a result, I have experienced great relief from the pain of sciatica and associated back pain…by the end of six treatments, the pains related to the sciatica had virtually gone. I would recommend Jane Johnson as a therapist for her professionalism and experience and I have always found her to be informative, kind and patient. I have certainly benefitted from her skill & knowledge.”

If you need help with your sciatica, do call me to discuss your needs.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Historically, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) has had a bad rap. In the past, it was nicknamed Yuppie Flu, because it was reported that well-paid, but overworked, young middle-class people seemed to catch it in droves. They were blamed for working too hard and burning themselves out.

But, to the 260,000 people affected by it in the UK, it is no joke. On average, the condition lasts for at least six years and many live with a form of the condition for life.

Symptoms and Severity

CFS is different for every individual who contracts it. The main symptom that is shared amongst all is the extreme tiredness that is not relieved by resting or sleeping. This isn’t just an experience of being weary. The feeling can be overwhelming and sufferers say that they can’t see an end to it.

Other symptoms include insomnia, muscle and joint pain, headaches, flu-type symptoms and sore throat, dizziness and foggy brain.

It goes without saying that having just a few symptoms from the list above can have serious consequences on your life. Coupled with the fact that a diagnosis for CFS is not a fast process, as it has very similar symptoms to other conditions, so you may have a flurry of examinations and blood tests to rule out most of these.

All this, and the every-day pain and exhaustion affect work, relationships and your mental health.

Typical treatment plans

Once diagnosed, the traditional approach is to draw up a plan for you that may include lifestyle changes and a healthy diet. You may be offered cognitive behavioural therapy and sympathetic employers might make adjustments to help manage your activity levels.

There isn’t a targeted drug that treats or cures CFS but you may be advised to take painkillers or anti-depressants if it is affecting your mental health.

The most common message suffers are told is, “there’s nothing that can be done… you have to live with it..”

How acupuncture and herbal medicine can help

Sometimes acupuncture on its own is used, sometime a combined approach is more suitable. It depends on the specific symptoms and your individual circumstances.

Here are a couple of examples of people I’ve helped:

Nick’s experience

Nick had been suffering with the symptoms of CFS for nine years.

“For years I was told that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome was untreatable and that I would have to live with it for life.”

He suffered with low energy, palpitations and insomnia. He was constantly tired and anxious.  This situation was perfect to treat with acupuncture.

Nick commented that: “…with regular treatment I am able to continue a normal life just as I was before being diagnosed.”

Karen’s experience

Karen had a range of symptoms and she too was told that nothing more could be done.

“I spent years feeling tired, lethargic with constant viral symptoms i.e. muscle aches & pains, pins & needles, constant sore throat & always being ill as I had a weak immune system. I was also being treated with drugs by this point for depression.”

For Karen, I recommended a combined approach of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
“Jane treated me holistically as an individual. After a course of acupuncture & herbs all the symptoms disappeared, I felt well in myself and my energy levels returned. I was also able to discontinue the depression medication.

Want to learn more?

We are regulated by the British Acupuncture Council, who have factsheets to explain the effectiveness of acupuncture with illnesses and conditions. To read more about acupuncture for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you can click this link.

For more information about Chinese Herbal medicine you can click this link


If you have CFS and want to get in touch with me to discuss how I can help, you can call for an exploratory call, or book here

Miscarriage is not something that is spoken about readily and in the open.

Certainly, people who have miscarriages find it difficult to talk about the experience. The loss of a pregnancy can be devastating and it doesn’t seem like there is a person in the world who understands. It’s normal to feel a whole host of emotions if this happens to you.

Symptoms range from cramps and spotting to full contractions and labour. The emotional consequences are ones of grief, shame and inadequacy.

The experience can impact the whole family.

Why they happen

Around twenty percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and can happen in the first three months of pregnancy.

The causes are many and include irregular hormone levels in the mother, some infections, abnormalities in the womb and certain medications. Smoking also increases the risk, as does alcohol and drug use.

You may not find out the exact cause of your miscarriage and it is quite common for medical tests to fail to explain the reasons why.

Most miscarriages can’t be prevented, but a nutrient rich diet low in refined carbohydrate and moderate exercise helps keep you healthy and well.

Not consuming certain foods and drinks are a good idea too. Alcohol, coffee and inflammatory foods should be avoided.

Thinking about getting pregnant again

After a miscarriage, many people will be anxious about getting pregnant again. Having doubts is normal, as you may feel that you could miscarry again. Taking time to think about your decision and discuss it with your partner is important, as it can take a toll on your emotions and mental health.

Rest and relaxation are the most important aspect of recovery and are often overlooked. The body after a miscarriage needs to time to heal.

How acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help in recovery and for future pregnancies

We practice gentle treatment for future pregnancies by combining carefully selected traditional herbal medicine and targeted acupuncture at our clinic.  Combining the two gives real strength to the treatment. Together they can help your body recover after a miscarriage by rebalancing your hormones and regulating your periods. They can also help bring strong blood-flow back to your womb and abdomen.

Treatment and lifestyle advice are intended to support each stage of a woman’s ovulatory cycle, since a woman’s chemical balance changes from week to week.

We also use temperature charting to access the health of a woman’s cycle. This is how minor abnormalities in a woman’s cycle are observed.

Some real-life success stories


Collette had had two consecutive miscarriages and feared she would never have children. When she booked an appointment at Cambourne Acupuncture, she was, in her own words “a broken lady”.

She goes on to say that “after treatment with Jane, my next pregnancy was to be a success and I finally got my rainbow baby. What [Jane] can do for you is priceless. Thank you so much for your help and support”.


If you’ve had a miscarriage, or have been having difficulty getting pregnant, please do get in touch and we can discuss how we can help. You can click on the contact us tab to find out more, or you can book an appointment. We are currently offering a free consultation with your first appointment.


Most people think of  migraines as a bad headache but there is more to them than that. For those of you who suffer with migraines, whether occasionally or frequently, that doesn’t begin to describe how they affect every part of your life.

The anatomy of a migraine

There are several types of migraine, but most are characterised by the severe pain radiating on one side of the head.

Typical symptoms of migraine are often experienced in phases, where people start to feel tired and irritable, then comes sensitivity to light, sound and smells, stiff neck and mood changes, followed by throbbing headache and fatigue. With some forms there can be pins and needles, numbness, nausea (vomiting even), disorientation or confusion.

All in all, it is a thoroughly unpleasant experience.

The migraine impact

The causes are numerous and individual to each person, but the impact on quality of life is much the same and always wide-reaching. Around 86 million workdays are lost in the UK alone, due to migraine. The cost in healthcare is about £1 billion.

This of course has an impact on the economy. Far harder to calculate is the far-reaching impact it has in other areas of people’s lives. It has effects emotional wellbeing, as sufferers are more prone to anxiety and depression. This has obvious consequences for them, their family and friends, as they are unable to fully participate in their lives, whether it be work performance or other activities.

If you don’t want to take drugs

So, what can be done to help alleviate symptoms and prevent occurrence of migraines?

Beyond using pharmaceuticals for pain relief, other interventions can be used to treat and prevent symptoms.

A healthy diet free of nitrates and trigger foods (diary in some) can help, while adding extra magnesium helps with prevention. Tracking your diet and noting what you were eating and drinking can help you narrow down what might be the triggers for your attacks.

Acupuncture for Migraines

In my practice, I have found acupuncture really helpful for my clients.

First of all, it can help with pain relief. It does this by stimulating the release of endorphins, those feel-good hormones, helping you to relax and rest.  Some medical studies have shown that low serotonin is sometimes linked to migraines and acupuncture can help to level that out.

It can also help considerably with the reduction in frequency of attacks, and the extent to which they affect you when they do occur. It does this by restoring healthy blood flow and reducing inflammation in and around your head and neck.

Shane’s experience

A client of mine, Shane, suffered with migraines regularly before she came to see me. Alongside excruciating headaches, she would experience violent vomiting. Her migraines would last for days and pain killers had no effect. But after just one session her symptoms began to improve immediately:

“The sickness went away and the headaches were much less severe. My treatment was weekly at first and after about 3 sessions my migraines went away.”

Shane continues to have occasional preventative sessions. She says:

I absolutely can’t recommend Jane enough and will continue to have treatments in the future.

Want to know more?

To learn more about migraines, symptoms, causes and relief, you can visit the link to the British Acupuncture Council factsheet. We are members of the British Acupuncture Council, the UK’s largest regulatory body for acupuncturists. That means you can visit us with confidence.


So if, like Shane, you are suffering with migraines, don’t wait to exhaust all the options before you get in touch with me. Call for an exploratory chat, or book here