How much has your life changed since getting diagnosed with sciatica? Yes, that shooting pain down the leg has changed my life too. But instead of sitting in a corner, crying, I am out fighting to find a solution. And I have found quite a few effective ones, I must confess. One of them is massage. Getting weekly massages has helped me relieve a lot of the symptoms, especially pain. So here is a whole article dedicated to massage for sciatica nerve pain relief and why you should try it.
What Is Sciatica?
Before we discuss the benefits of massage for sciatica nerve pain relief, first, let's briefly explain what sciatica is. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve found in the human body. It originates from the spinal cord, running through the buttocks and the hips until it branches down each of your legs. Thanks to the sciatic nerve, we get to move our legs and feel any sensations in this area as well.
Unfortunately, many often experience a condition called sciatica. This term refers to the presence of pain along the sciatic nerve. The pain is localized in the lower back, as well as down the affected leg. It usually affects only one side of the body; however, there are cases in which both legs are affected. Injuries, tumors, and several other conditions can contribute to the development of sciatica.
The bad news is that sciatica causes quite troubling symptoms. Other than pain, patients also report experiencing numbness, weakness, and painful tingling down their legs. Many of them are also experiencing an inability to control their bladder and/or bowels. The good news is that there is something to be done against the symptoms. Thermotherapy, rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, and massage can relieve many of the characteristic symptoms.
The Benefits Of Using Massage To Relieve Sciatica Pain
Massage is one of the most important techniques used to relieve the pain and the rest of the symptoms related to sciatica. Here are the most significant beneficial effects of massage and how it can help soothe the present pain.
- It releases endorphins
During the massage, the therapist efficiently stimulates specific pressure receptors in the brain. This results in a release of endorphins. Endorphins are often referred to as the body's feel-good hormones. Their release triggers pain relief, pleasure boost, better mood, etc. Similar situations during which endorphins are being released are sex, eating, and exercising.
- It relaxes your muscles
Probably the most important benefit of massage is muscle relaxation. Having tight core, trunk, and lower back muscles only contribute to the already-present lower back pain due to sciatica. Tight muscles increase the pressure on the roots of the sciatic nerve. They can also form painful nodules that can lead to trigger point pain. When done right, massage can loosen up and relax these muscles. This will result in pain relief and an improved function of the treated muscles.
- It improves the blood flow
Massage helps boost blood flow. It stimulates the blood vessels both in your skin and in your deep tissue. The result is enhanced circulation of not only blood but also oxygen and other nutrients that will help speed up the healing process.
- It reduces stress
And finally, the most apparent effect of them all – stress relief. Getting a nice, long massage is one of the best ways to relieve your anxiety and stress. Both of these factors slow down the healing process and contribute to the severity of the pain itself. Knowing that it is important to rely on relaxation techniques, such as massage, to reduce your cortisol levels.
What Is The Best Massage For Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief?
Now that I have explained the beneficial effects of massage, let's discuss what the best massage for sciatic nerve pain is. It is essential to know that there are several different types of massage that you can try out, each as beneficial as the next one.
Deep tissue massage
Deep tissue massage is one of the most commonly used massage techniques for sciatica pain relief. A study done back in 2014 has reviewed deep tissue massage just as effective as the usual nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs when it comes to lower back pain relief due to sciatica. One thing that you need to know is that deep tissue massage is a bit more aggressive massage technique. As such, it uses slow strokes of deep finger pressure applied over the affected area. This helps relieve the pressure within the muscles and the connective tissue. When done properly, deep tissue massage can eliminate adhesions, scar tissue, and knots, all of which can enhance the present pain along the sciatic nerve.
This is, by far, my most favorite massage technique. I am not going to lie – I did leave the massage studio with quite a few bruises after my first two-three sessions. But I also left the studio with way less pain and a lot more relaxed than I was ever before.
Neuromuscular massage combines deep tissue pressure and friction to help release the contracted muscles and relieve the tension. It is described as pressure point therapy for back pain since it treats the trigger points that are causing the pain in the first place. Nerve compression, poor blood flow, and postural issues are some of the other problems that can be relieved through neuromuscular massage.
If you find deep tissue massage to be a bit much, then you may want to give the Swedish massage a try. The Swedish massage is quite similar to the deep tissue massage, using flowing and kneading movements to apply pressure to the deep tissues and relieve pain. However, it is much gentler than the deep tissue massage, which is why so many people find it more bearable.
Hot stone massage
The hot stone massage is used in a combination of a Swedish massage. The therapist uses hot stones that he places on specific body parts. While the hot stones do their work, the therapist applies the movements of a Swedish massage. This is yet another great pinched sciatic nerve massage that you need to try.
Myofascia is the deep tissue that surrounds the muscles. The myofascial release targets the trigger points in the myofascial tissue, thus releasing the pressure and pain present within them. These trigger points are stiff and immobile, and with that, they are causing the patient great pain. With this lower back pressure points massage, the therapist is able to successfully treat the area.
Acupressure and acupuncture
Acupressure and acupuncture are some more alternative treatment methods that you may want to try out. Acupressure Massage for the lower back targets the proper acupoints in this area, trying to relieve the present stiffness and pain. To do that, the therapist applies pressure using their hands and fingers.
Acupuncture works in the same way, with the sole difference that the acupoints are now treated with the use of needles. Acupuncture needles are inserted in the selected acupoints, which helps improve the present symptoms. The good thing about acupressure for lower back pain is that you can easily do it at home. All that you need are the right acupoints, time, and patience, and you will be able to enjoy the benefits of acupressure from the comfort of your own home.
Related Reading: The Step by Step Guide To Acupressure For Sciatica Pain Relief
Using a massage machine
Another great at-home option is using a massage machine. But finding the best massage machine for sciatica will not be easy. I want to help you save both time and money. That is why I have chosen the best massage machines for sciatica for you.
Does Using Ear Seeds For Sciatic Pain Relief Help?
One of the things that I see many people being interested in is using ear seeds. Ear seeds are not exactly used during a massage, but they can still help relieve sciatica pain. They are the small seeds that target acupoints in the ear, small enough so that you can wear them in your ears without anyone noticing. One of the reasons why so many people love them is that they are effective, easy to use and you can wear them between massage sessions, as advised by my therapist.
I, for example, are one of those people. As soon as I discovered the ear seeds, I made one of the best investments in my life. I have purchased the Ear Seed Kit for Multi-Conditions that comes with beginner-suitable instructions. The very same minute that they got delivered to my doorstep, I started wearing my first ear seeds ever. They stay in for days and do not require any special care. You can go about your day while they continue to restore your "qi" and relieve your sciatica pain. It does not get any better than that.
Here is the ear seeds placement chart for sciatic:
Deciding to use massage for sciatica nerve pain relief is one of the best decisions that I could ever make. I got myself a nice lower back massager and some ear seeds, and now I am spending my days feeling relaxed and pain-free at home. If you, too, want to experience the very same benefits as well, give massage for sciatica nerve pain relief a try.