Can Massage Help With Sciatica
Updated: Feb 17, 2019
Where is the Sciatic Nerve located in the body?
The sciatic nerve is located near the base of the spine, where it originates, and extends all the way down to the feet. As the body's largest and longest nerve, the sciatic nerve contains multiple bundles of nerve tissue that branch out to other areas along its length, which spans from the lumbar spine through the buttocks and both legs to the feet.
As a mixed-function nerve, the sciatic transmits both sensory and motor information, which delivers signals that supply both movement and sensation to the lower body. This means issues affecting the sciatic nerve can be both painful and crippling.
What causes Sciatic Nerve Pain?
Sciatic nerve pain is most commonly caused by a ruptured or bulging spinal disk. Affecting an estimated 40% of the population at varying stages of life, it is one of the most common ailments facing society today. Contrary to popular belief, the term "sciatica" is simply a set of symptoms generated by an underlying problem. These symptoms may include tingling, pain, numbness or weakness in the lower back, buttocks and legs. Symptoms present due to a compression of the sciatic nerve. A less common cause of sciatica is Piriformis syndrome, a disorder in which a muscle located in the buttocks (the piriformis muscle) contracts and irritates the sciatic nerve. In this case, the pain starts in the buttocks and radiates down the leg.
Massage as an effective treatment for Sciatic Nerve Pain
Tight muscles in the lower back may result in sciatic nerve compression. Massage therapy manipulates tightened muscles, allowing them to relax. Massaging reduces pressure on the compressed nerve and alleviates associated pain. Muscle manipulation also stimulates the brain's release of its natural painkiller, endorphins. These bind to opioid receptors in the body, blocking feelings of pain and discomfort. Massage also increases blood flow to the treatment area, encouraging healing of damaged and inflamed tissue. Many times, massage therapists may employ topical treatments as part of the procedure, helping to decrease pain and inflammation in the affected area.
Movement also increases blood flow to affected muscles, facilitating the body's natural healing. There are several stretches that help to open tight hips and hamstrings that may provide relief. The most important thing to take into consideration when performing stretching is moderation. Too much stretching too quickly may further irritate already delicate areas and may intensify pain rather than alleviate it.
Here at Body Language I offer a sciatic nerve treatment that includes massage and stretching. Comment below if you have any sciatic issues and how you've dealt or been dealing with it.