The term ‘sciatica’ refers to pain that is felt along the nerve roots of 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. 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 Myotherapist will treat sciatic pain by first assessing the cause of the neurological symptoms. Then we concentrate on pain relief, while looking at restoring the function and flexibility/stability of the affected areas The treatment is supplemented with a comprehensive rehabilitation program, including targeted fitness activities aimed at restoring full function of the area. Finally, your Myotherapist will look with you at ways to prevent a relapse, including ergonomic or technique assessments, ongoing maintenance exercises or a long term treatment plan.
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 treatments, Myotherapists 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 Myotherapist 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. All these techniques are aimed not just to treat the cause of the issue, but to give you as much pain relief as possible, as quickly as possible.
To learn more about how Myotherapy and Remedial Massage Therapy can improve your sciatic condition, speak to a Myotherapist at Mobilise Remedial Massage (07) 3870 5990 at our Toowong practice today.