Sciatica can severely impact every part of your life–from enjoying downtime in front of the TV to playing the sports you love. Sciatica massage provides a non-interventional option for relieving this pain. Here’s how.
Does massage help sciatica?
Sciatica is a type of pain that stems from inflammation of the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the longest in the human body and runs from the spinal cord, down through the buttocks, all the way into the legs below the knees. Since it affects such a wide area, you may experience pain in your:
- Legs (typically on one side)
- Lower back
You may feel the pain as a throbbing or burning sensation. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women, those with herniated discs, or people who suffer from arthritis to suffer from sciatica pain. It’s also more common in those who don’t work out, are overweight, or are older.
Because this condition can lead to tight muscles in the legs and back, deep-tissue sciatica massages can help you relieve your pain in a number of ways. For example, massage for sciatica pain can:
- Help loosen tight back or leg muscles
- Encourage the release of pain-fighting endorphins that act as natural pain killers
- Promote blood circulation to inflamed areas
As Massage Envy notes, these effects can lead to lasting pain relief. In a study of 400 people with low back pain, weekly massage recipients reported better overall functioning and less pain. A third said their pain was completely or nearly gone (compared to only 4% of the control group). In addition to pain relief, massage can allow you to engage in physical therapy or chiropractic therapy with less pain, so you can reduce the pain at its source.
What types of massage for sciatica pain can I try?
Massage only helps patients who are experiencing sciatica from tight muscles–approximately 20% of sciatica patients. As we’ll talk about in the contraindications section, if you suffer from another cause of sciatica, it could actually exacerbate your pain. That’s why it’s always important to get a diagnosis from a pain specialist before trying any new treatment for your pain.
If your doctor clears you for sciatica massage, there are a number of options you can try. These range from DIY at-home options to professional deep-tissue massages.
Self massage for sciatica
After hearing from their pregnant patients about their sciatica pain, one massage practice put together a quick DIY massage video. Self-massage relies on using tennis balls to release tension, no matter where you are. This whole routine takes only a few minutes.