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  • Writer's pictureRobin Hill LMT, RN

Sciatica, what is it?

If you have pain that extends from your lower back, through your buttocks and down the leg, you could have Sciatica. This pain can be mild to severe and usually affects only one side of the body. There are other symptoms such as numbness, tingling or weakness in that leg and foot. Standing, walking and sitting can be affected and make those difficult. Massage is a great alternative to painkillers. There may be an underlying cause of the sciatica, but massage can still provide some relief.

Deep tissue massage therapy is very effective at relieving pain and may be as effective as over the counter pain relievers such as Ibuprofen for the low back and sciatica symptoms. Massage's main benefit is relaxing and calming tense or spasmed muscles. When muscles are tense and contracted, they can put added pressure on the nerves such as the sciatic nerve. After releasing and soothing these muscles with massage, this can help to reduce the pressure that as been put on the sciatic nerve.

There are many different types of massage and all massage therapists are different.

Deep tissue massage

Deep tissue massage uses long slow strokes to warm up the tissues and then uses deep pressure to release the contraction/spasm in the muscles.

Swedish massage

Swedish massage is light, flowing and kneading movements that can stimulate the nerve endings and increase blood flow. It also helps to release general tension and promote relaxation.

Neuromuscular massage

This type of neuromuscular massage uses several advanced massage techniques that combine deep tissue pressure and friction to release contracted muscles and relieve tension.

Myofascial release

Fascia is a tough membrane that surrounds tissues, organs and adds support. Myofascial release is a technique used to relieve pain that stems from this fascia. Stiff, immovable areas within the myofascial tissue are known as trigger points. These trigger points cause pain and with focused pressure and stretching, it helps to reduce pain.

Massage for sciatica is not a cure for the underlying cause of your pain, however, it can help to temporarily relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

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