Sciatica Relief Using Massage Therapy
The sciatic nerve is a nerve bundle that is thumb size and is composed of several nerve roots that originate in the lower back and sacral area. This nerve goes down to the lower leg and foot and down the back of the thigh between muscles like the piriformis which run down from the sacral area to the legs. A tightening of these muscles can cause the sciatic nerve to get compressed and cause pain. The pain can be mild and cause just a little tingling. But severe sciatic pain can cause the sufferer to find it hard to move or even lie down.
Sciatica Diagnosis and Sciatica relief
It is always advisable to get sciatica diagnosed by a physician. Other more serious factors that can cause similar pain need to be ruled out. These can be spinal problems like misalignments of the discs or their degeneration because of age. Muscle spasms or tensions can also cause such pain and need to be treated separately. Application of cold compresses quite often alleviates sciatica pain and may be used for initial treatments or mild attacks. However, long lasting relief can be obtained from massage therapy once the problem is identified as originating from the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica Relief with Massage
The sciatic nerve originates from the bottom of your sacrum, the triangular bone just above the buttocks. This is the region that a massage therapist will start treatment from. The massage therapy should preferably start with an assessment of the entire back and buttock area. The piriformis (as referred to earlier) can be tight or have spasms, which in turn compresses the sciatic nerve and causes the pain. The massage therapy would include applying constant pressure to the piriformis and other gluteal muscles to cause them to relax and reduce the spasms. These muscles can become tight by constant pressure on them due to long hours of driving or spending extended periods of time while seated. The massage therapy would then include long strokes, which go deep to the muscle fibers. Pressure and technique would vary from person to person. Massage therapy may require several sessions to enable the muscle to release its hold on the sciatic nerve and therefore afford longer relief.
The spending on relieving pain caused by sciatica is estimated to cost Americans billions of dollars every year. A study conducted in 2003 indicated that massage therapy reduced the intake of painkillers by as much as a third, compared to other known forms of treatment. This can lead to the reduction in the use of painkillers and has already made massage therapy a common way to help ease sciatica pain. Massage therapy for sciatica pain may last for quite a few sessions, but relief can last for a couple of months. It is important that the sufferer take care to see that the conditions that caused the sciatica pain are avoided.