Massage helps Sciatica

Massage helps Sciatica

Most of us have suffered from sciatic pain at one time or another, whether it was the debilitating I-can't-stand type of pain, or a mild tingling down the back of the thigh.

Current medical treatment might involve prescription pain killers, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, or even surgery.

 I prefer a somewhat less invasive approach. Of course, treating such a painful condition is not always pleasant, but not every treatment is painful, and when massage does hurt, it should be of the "that hurts so good!!" type of pain.  

The sciatic nerve is made up of several nerve roots coming from the low back and sacral area that combine to make a nerve bundle which, up at the buttock level is about as big around as one's thumb. This makes it an easy target for compression.  The sciatic nerve branches out and descends down the leg, supplying the back of the thigh, and the entire lower leg and foot.  For men who keep their wallets in their back pocket, it's small wonder they often suffer from pain down the leg.

 Under the gluteus maximus muscle, there are a group of muscles which serve to stabilize and rotate the leg at the hip. The largest of these is the piriformis. The sciatic nerve travels between the piriformis and the other muscles, and when the piriformis is tight, it compresses the nerve resulting in pain and dysfunction.  

What exactly can massage do for this condition? By relieving tension in the low back and general gluteal region, then dealing with the trigger points in the piriforms, relief can sometimes be almost immediate.  Generally, it takes several sessions to achieve full release of the muscles involved. 

 Naturally, pressure and techniques are adjusted depending on the situation. Sometimes what is most effective is gentle vibrations on the buttock and sacrum. Other times, deeper work is necessary. Everyone is different, has different tolerance for pain or discomfort, and each body is unique. What works for a 250-pound, 30-year old construction worker probably won't work for a 80-year-old woman. You never can tell, though, she might be able to take more pressure.  Other valuable treatments for this type of pain include chiropractic care and acupunture. I often refer clients out for co-treatment. I work the muscles, the chiro adjusts the bones, or the acu uses you for a pincushion, and the client benefits from all, often obtaining long lasting relief.  

If you suffer from this nasty little condition, and your doctor tells you, "It's sciatica," don't despair.  Make an appointment with your massage therapist and follow up with your chiropractor or acupuncturist, and you'll be back in the pink of health in no time! 

Incorporate Yoga into your daily routine to stay on top of this nasty little condition. 


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