When you have pain connected or related to the sciatic nerve, you have a condition known as sciatica. It is characterized by intense pain in the lower back region and a tingling feeling through the feet and legs.
A registered massage therapist is a highly trained and licensed specialist who manipulates the body’s soft body tissues, including ligaments, connective tissues, joints, tendons, and muscles.
Massage therapy can treat a myriad of different chronic pain conditions. It can also help reduce the discomfort caused by the overuse of the muscles and everyday stresses, as well as improve lymphatic drainage and augment joint mobility.
People with disabilities may benefit from massage therapy, as can those dealing with an illness or an injury caused by an accident or surgery. It can help those with cancer, arthritis, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, sciatica, Parkinson’s, etc.
However, our focus will be on how massage therapy can help treat sciatica.
What You Need to Know About Sciatica
Sciatica is a symptom of an underlying condition that you have. It is usually caused by an injury to the sciatic nerve. The damage may be caused by abnormal immunological response, inflammation, nerve compression, or all three.
Trigger points in the piriformis are often linked to sciatica pain. Being overweight will also increase the risk of sciatica, as the added weight will place pressure on your spine. There are also different types of sciatica.
Spondylolisthesis occurs when a spinal vertebra slips forward over an adjacent vertebra. Spinal stenosis is age-related and causes the spine to narrow, triggering pain. Lumbar spinal stenosis causes the spinal canal to narrow gradually over time.
The spinal nerves and spinal cord face added pressure that can cause intense pain. Piriformis syndrome develops when the muscles become too tense or begin to spasm. The sciatic nerve may become very compressed due to the piriformis muscle, which can trigger excruciating pain.
It is hard to determine if the patient has the syndrome, characterized as a muscular problem. As such, it can be hard to diagnose by taking conventional radiographs. Another common cause of sciatica is a herniated or bulging disc.
While the annulus layer is quite durable, the soft nuclear layer can penetrate through it. When this happens, a disc becomes herniated and quite painful. In some cases, the disc’s soft nucleus won’t break all the way.
Instead, it will only bulge forward, causing a bulging disc. The adjacent spinal nerves should not be compressed. Its compression leads to sciatica. Some patients report a tingling sensation or numbness caused by inflammation.
If you do not treat your sciatica, you will lose bowel and bladder control, causing incontinence. You may have trouble walking, sleeping, and sitting. You may develop permanent posture issues as well.
Long-term sciatica will also cause permanent nerve damage, which is irreversible. When being treated for sciatica, you should avoid wearing high heels and poor posture. You should also avoid sleeping on your stomach and standing or sitting for long periods.
Furthermore, if you need to lift heavy items, do so with your legs. Avoid contact sports while being treated for sciatica, and avoid bad exercises that will strain or injure your spinal column.
How Massage Therapy Helps Treat and Reduce Sciatica
A registered massage therapist will help increase the blood flow in your body, which will accelerate your recovery. They will also not only target the trigger points. Instead, they will also pay attention to the surrounding regions as well.
The therapeutic modalities that they use will also help your body release more endorphins, which will help alleviate pain and reduce stress. They will even optimize the supply of nutrients in the anatomy to promote healing, wellness, and vitality.
A registered massage therapist takes a holistic approach to medicine. They use the tools and resources readily available in the body and optimize their use and function to reduce pain, swelling, and tension while promoting healing and stress relief.
Post-Massage Therapy Tips for Sciatica
You need to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water to keep your body properly hydrated. Frequent body movement is also key. Do not overexert yourself, but stay active to promote optimal blood circulation.
Avoid drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or smoking cigarettes while recovering from sciatica, as they impede healing and may induce certain side effects once you have established a routine exercise pattern. You need to follow up with your registered massage therapist.
They will perform the necessary tests to determine if your body is healing as intended. They will provide you with home care tips that you can practice at home to promote your recovery further.
Back to Basics
A registered massage therapist is a highly skilled professional who has years, if not decades, of experience in treating sciatica. The problem with many conventional sciatica treatments is that they provide band-aid solutions instead of targeting the root cause of sciatica.
Massage therapy takes a holistic approach to treating sciatica. It does not involve using powerful painkillers that can become addictive and cause additional health problems down the line.
It is also not an invasive treatment. There is no pain during the treatment. You do not have to spend months recovering from a surgical procedure that can cause blood clots, pain, and other complications.
Instead, the patient is taught how to manage their sciatica by providing them with the tools they need to maximize the benefits of their massage therapy and empower them to take their health into their own hands.
Most patients who undergo massage therapy can return to their normal lifestyle within weeks.