Has sitting been causing you any discomfort lately? Or, have you been having trouble standing up without a struggle? If you have been experiencing unexplained pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in your right or left leg that is affecting your quality of life, you might be dealing with sciatica or sciatic nerve pain.
What Is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a term medical professionals use to define excessive nerve pain along the sciatic nerve, which is an important nerve that runs from your lower back, through your glutes, all the way down your legs.
Due to the sheer size of the sciatic nerve, any damage can wreak havoc on your muscles, often causing painful symptoms like muscle weakness and reflex issues. These typically affect only one side of the lower body.
Some common causes of sciatica include:
- A herniated disc that’s compressing the nerve root
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing spinal canal)
- Misaligned spinal vertebrae
- Trauma or injury to the sciatic nerve
Less common causes can include:
- A lumbar spinal canal tumour
- Piriformis syndrome (a rare neuromuscular disorder)
Sciatica symptoms are painful, uncomfortable, and often long-lasting, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t treatable. At Urban Massage and Wellness, we recommend alleviating your muscle pain with your favourite massage technique!
How Can Massage Benefit Those Who Experience Sciatica?
If you are struggling with sciatica, many different massage techniques can help reduce pain and release tension in the affected area so you can focus less on pain management and get back to enjoying your day-to-day activities.
Two key benefits of massage therapy for treating sciatica include:
- Reducing tension in sore muscles helps to relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. This makes sitting, standing, and walking more bearable.
- Releasing endorphins throughout the body helps to improve general well-being and may also assist with pain management.
Essentially, getting a massage to treat sciatic nerve pain can not only soothe your most tense muscle groups, but it could potentially increase your tolerance for pain thanks to the positive endorphins that get a helpful boost as your body and mind start to relax.
Which Massage Therapies Are Beneficial for Sciatica
The beauty of booking a massage for sciatica is that many different massage techniques have been proven to relieve the most common symptoms of nerve pain. Whether you thrive on the intensity of a deep tissue massage or swoon over the relaxing nature of soft tissue massage techniques, booking any type of massage for sciatica might just be the first step towards the end of your sciatic nerve pain.
Deep Tissue Massage
A common symptom of sciatica is lower back pain, which can be treated quite effectively with regular deep tissue massages. As the name suggests, a deep tissue massage involves using deep pressure to smooth out knots and loosen up tight muscle tissues.
Thai Style Massage
A Thai massage for sciatica is a style of deep tissue massage that focuses heavily on stretching and soothing tight muscles. This massage technique can be powerful enough to work out knots the size of tennis balls, which is why it is a great treatment option if your nerve pain has caused extreme muscle tensing and tightening.
Relaxation massage involves using softer, flowing movements to lightly knead muscles and connective tissues while enforcing a calm, relaxed and peaceful experience. This popular massage technique is designed to relieve tension, increase blood flow, and release endorphins, which can soothe sciatica symptoms and increase pain tolerance.
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger point therapy often used to relieve severe muscle tightness caused by conditions like arthritis, herniated discs, overused muscles, and more, involves putting pressure on a particularly tense spot (or trigger point) on the muscle to relieve tension and reduce muscle pain.
If you are experiencing extremely tight glutes and sciatica, for example, your piriformis muscle might be inflamed. This could mean it would be a potential trigger point to knead out to make sitting and standing more comfortable.
Myofascial Release Therapy
Myofascial tissue is essentially a membrane that protects the muscles, but when overextended, it can stiffen up and cause muscle pain. Myofascial release therapy involves applying light, steady pressure to spots along the muscles to relieve the tension. Think of this massage technique as ironing out your favourite shirt—sometimes it requires ironing over the most stubborn wrinkles a few times for it to smooth out completely.
If your sciatica makes standing or walking difficult, sitting with your knees bent for too long may cause your fascia to crunch right up. In this case, our massage therapists might recommend myofascial release therapy for immediate relief.
Hot Stone Massage
Sciatic nerve pain can sometimes be caused by a compressed or inflamed nerve root, which can lead to muscle weakness, numbness, or tingling. Luckily, a hot stone massage is a very relaxing way to address these aches and pains without applying too much pressure.
Smooth, heated stones are placed onto the tensest muscle areas to target tough knots and stiff myofascial tissues. The heat and weight of these stones work together to alleviate sore muscle aches and relieve muscle tension along the sciatic nerve.
Manual osteopathy uses palpation to treat and strengthen joints, muscles, and the spine while also stimulating healthy function of the nervous system, circulatory system, and lymphatic system. Because manual osteopathy treats the structure and function of the body, it is a helpful treatment option for sciatica-induced pain and imbalance.
Sciatica can be severe enough to cause frequent muscle spasms, which is why manual osteopathy can be very beneficial for pain and symptom management. There is a hands-on palpation technique called the osteopathic articular technique, which involves gently moving two joint surfaces to increase mobility and ease irritation.
Massage Therapists in St. Albert
If you are suffering from sciatica, we encourage you to book a massage therapy appointment with one of our registered massage therapists at Urban Massage and Wellness! Our wide range of services allows you to choose the treatment method that best suits your massage preference.
Get in touch with us or book an appointment online and kickstart your journey towards sciatica pain relief today.