Ouch! You can’t ignore that biting, shooting pain that tingles down one side of your lower back, through your buttocks and down each leg. This debilitating pain is caused when a sciatic nerve is inflamed as a result of an injury such as a pinched nerve, poor posture, or a slipped disc. Sciatica pain can be mild or extreme, often, sitting for long periods can cause excruciating pain, even worse sleeping is nearly impossible. The good news is, there is pain relief for sciatica. There are several treatments that can manage sciatica flare ups without requiring surgery, including massage therapy.
A new study shows that massage therapy isn’t just a way to relax and indulge, but it is a natural pain reliever. The power of touch relieves pain by reducing muscle tension and triggers the release of natural pain relieving chemicals in your body, called endorphins. This “feel good” chemical are the same chemicals that release in your body during sex, exercise and laughing. A soothing massage can help you “unwind”, but that’s not all., here are four ways how massage therapy can help soothe sciatica nerve pain:
1. Increasing Circulation Will Promote Recovery
At MVMT Physio & Chiro, our experienced registered massage therapists have treated numerous sciatica patients. A soothing rubdown can provide welcome relief from sciatica nerve pain caused by a problem in the back. The pressure created during a massage facilitates the movement of blood to flow through to the affected area. Increased circulation brings damaged and tense muscles the oxygen-rich blood they need to heal. Furthermore, the squeezing and pulling during a massage treatment flushes lactic acid from the muscles and improves the circulation of the lymph fluid that carries metabolic waste away from muscles and internal organs. Consider a tube of body lotion, when you apply pressure and squeeze the tube, lotion flows out more easily. The same principle applies to your blood and lymph flow during a massage treatment.
2. Find The Right Person For The Right Job
Not all massage therapists are created equally, especially when it comes to relieving sciatica nerve pain. It takes years of training and experience for a massage therapist to get skilled at one specific technique. Not all massage therapist will be able to help you with your sciatica nerve pain if they haven’t taken any training for it. Sciatic nerve pain can profoundly affect your quality of life, from sitting, walking, sleeping or any movement in general. At MVMT Physio & Chiro, we have registered massage therapist that have plenty of experience treating sciatica patients. Along with pain relief, our highly trained massage therapists can provide your body the renewed freedom and increased range of motion.
3. Focus Not Only on The Trigger Points But Surrounding Areas
Ensure that your registered massage therapist works on all of the surrounding muscles that are affected by the sciatic nerve. These areas include your:
- gluteus and upper leg (the piriformis)
- lower back (quadrates lumborum)
- posterior side of the hip joint (quadratus femoris)
- thin muscle along the lumbar or lower spine (the psoas)
4. Maintain The Benefits of Massage After Your Session is Over With Follow-up Care
You can use self-care measures and natural therapies to reduce inflammation and pressure on the irritated sciatic nerve. These can include:
Cold packs – At the first point of a sciatic nerve flare up, a cold pack may provide relief on the affected area. Place an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a clean towel and place on the affected area for up to 20 minutes several times a day.
Hot packs – After two to three days, apply heat to the painful areas. Use hot packs or a heating pad on the lowest setting.
Lifestyle changes – Avoid sitting for an extended period, and remove your wallet out of your back pocket when sitting.
Self-massage techniques – Sit on a tennis ball to massage the affected area.
Stretching – Follow a stretching routine that focuses on each of the muscles that are affected by the pain. Keep these muscles loose to relieve nerve compression.