The term ‘sciatica’ refers to pain that is felt along the the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the longest single nerve in the human body, starting in the lower back and running through the buttocks and down the lower limbs. Sciatic pain may be felt in any of the areas.
Sciatic pain has a variety of potential causes, including damage from a herniated disc, joint inflammation, spinal arthritis, or a locked facet joint, or even tight muscle compression. It can be the result of gradual wear and tear on the spine or an injury that occurs suddenly. Regardless of its cause, it is important that sufferers seek medical attention. If left untreated, sciatic symptoms can become worse, and lead to the need for surgical intervention.
Symptoms of sciatica
The most common symptom of sciatic is pain in the lower back, buttocks, hips, legs, calves, or feet. The pain is usually worse when sitting and sufferers may feel a sharp pain when they stand up.
Other symptoms include:
– A burning or tingling sensation
– Numbness or muscle weakness
– Pins and needles
– Walking becomes difficult
– Loss of power to the muscles in the limbs and foot
A Myoherapist will treat sciatic pain in four phases, first concentrating on pain relief then looking at restoring the function and flexibility of the affected areas. This is followed by techniques such as general fitness activities aimed at restoring full function of the area and finally, looking at ways to prevent a relapse.
Throughout all of these stages, massage therapy has been found to have therapeutic benefits for sciatica sufferers. A study by the National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine found in a ten week study of 400 participants that participants who were given massage as a treatment (compared to any other treatment of the participant’s choice) reportedly a significantly higher amount of improvement – 36 – 39% in the massage group, compared to 4% in the alternate group.
In sciatic massage, myotherapists and remedial massage therapists concentrate on relaxing tight muscles and reducing muscle spasm, as well as increasing the range of motion of the lumbar joints, while aiming to create space around the area of nerve impingement. The massage therapist might focus on the sacrum, the bone above the buttocks where the sciatic nerve begins, or on the piriformis muscle, which can compress the sciatic nerve , causing pain, pins and needles or numbness in the area or down the leg. Depending on your condition, you might experience some pain relief after your first session, but there may be a case for a myotherapy treatment plan, and ongoing home rehabilitation.
To learn more about how myotherapy and massage therapy can improve your sciatic condition, speak to a Brisbane massage therapist at Mobilise Remedial Massage by (07) 3870 5990 for our Toowong practice, or emailing us through our Contact Page. Or book online today!