How to Help Alleviate Your Sciatica with Massage Therapy

How can I help my Sciatica?

What is the Sciatic Nerve and Sciatica?

The sciatic nerve is the biggest and longest nerve in the body that runs from the spinal column, splits in two and runs through the glutes and into the lower limbs. If there is a bone spur, herniated disc in your lumbar region, or if your piriformis muscle is too tight, they can pull your bones out of alignment, push against the nerve, or cause trigger points that all cause pain and discomfort that radiates from your lower back to your glutes and down the back of your leg. 

Massage therapy has proven to help with sciatica because it:

  1. Loosens and stretches the tight, problematic muscles. Some of these muscles are the Quadratus Lumborum in the back, the Piriformis in the glutes, and the Iliopsoas in the front hips.
  2. Relieves lower back pain, which is one of the symptoms of sciatica. Studies have shown that massage can be as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs.
  3. Increases circulation, which allows oxygen and nutrients to enter the sore areas in order to promote healing, releases endorphins, and reduces stress and the body’s cortisol levels. This however, is not effective if your sciatica is due to a herniated disc. If your sciatica is due to a herniated disc, we recommend going to see your chiropractor or osteotherapist before booking in for a massage.
  4. Increases flexibility and range of motion. This allows you to use your supporting muscles properly rather than overcompensating, prevents injury, and allows you to recover faster. This is especially helpful if your sciatic pain is coming from tight muscles pushing on the nerve. 
  5. Relieves stress. Massage helps decrease your body’s production of the stress hormone (cortisol) and increase your body’s production of the feel good hormones (dopamine and serotonin). This relieves stress and helps your body be more able to recover. 

What we recommend:

First, if you are experiencing extreme pain, please go see your doctor before coming in for a massage. Not only will your doctor be able to help analyse what the cause of your sciatic pain may be, but he/she will also tell you if massage is a good form of treatment. 

If you are coming for a massage, we recommend a 60 minute remedial massage that focuses on the back, glutes, hips and back of the legs. If you don’t like or respond as well to remedial massage, a 90 minute hot stone massage is always a great way to use heat and relax the muscles in order to loosen them up and alleviate your sciatica symptoms.

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