After long periods of sitting, it’s normal to feel slight back pain. But if this feeling is intense and reaches up from your leg to your back, you may be dealing with sciatica. Does this sound familiar?
Read on to find all about this condition, including how to lessen the pain with techniques such as sciatic nerve massage.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition that causes pain along the sciatic nerve, all through the back, hips, backside, and legs. This pain will usually affect only one side of the body.
According to a recent study, sciatica has an annual incidence of 1% to 5% of the world population, which is quite high. The same research paper also suggests sciatica pain relief massage as a treatment option, and we’ll look more at this below.
The causes of sciatica are often associated with herniated disks, narrowing of the spinal canal, nerve root entrapment, and compression, leading to inflammation and pain. But don’t get too alarmed just yet! This pain isn’t usually severe enough to require surgery, and a simple fix like a sciatic nerve massage can help you get back to normal in no time.
Does Massage Help Sciatica Pain? What Are the Effects?
According to scientific research, massage is proven to help relieve general pain. A study done in 2014 even showed that massage therapy for sciatica pain could be as effective as anesthetic drugs, especially for the lower back.
During day-to-day life, your muscles are likely to tense up and put extra pressure on your nerves. One of these will usually be the sciatic nerve, which provides motor function from the calves all the way up to the back. A sciatica pain relief massage can help resolve this tension, reducing the pressure on your nerves.
The Benefits of Massage to Treat Sciatica Pain
A sciatica massage may target different areas of your body, including the nerves, joints, muscles, or skin tissue. Here are a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy from this treatment:
Loose and Relaxed Muscles
Tensed-up back and core muscles may put an immense amount of pressure on your nerves, especially the sciatic nerve. This is going to lead to consistent pain on one side of your body. Tense muscles may also lead to knots, so your pain will be in a few specific spots.
A deep massage can stretch you out and make your muscles looser, so they move more freely and are more functional. This will relieve some of that extra pressure on your nerve, also adding to pain relief.
Better Circulation of Necessary Nutrients
A soft tissue massage is going to stimulate your skin blood vessels. Your blood oxygen and necessary nutrients will be circulated more freely and will reach those painful regions. Once the sore parts of your body get these nutrients, they’ll feel better—and so will you.
Release of Endorphins
Endorphins are one of your body’s happy hormones. A massage will induce the release of these hormones, stimulating specific points in your brain. They act as a natural painkiller, as well as boosting feelings of pleasure.
Sometimes we don’t realize the extent of the stress we’re under until the consequences set in. Stress causes muscle tension, which leads to pain, which creates more stress—a vicious cycle. Elevated levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone”, flood your body, wreaking havoc on your health and mental state.” However, it’s been shown that stimulating pleasure receptors with a massage can decrease the amount of cortisol in your body.
With so many target spots, it’s difficult to say which type of massage is best for sciatica. It all depends on exactly where you feel the most pain.
Massage for Sciatica Pain: The Downsides and Precautions
Generally, there aren’t too many concerns regarding sciatica massage. Only the following groups of patients can be at risk:
- Those who have had recent cortisone injections;
- Patients with tumors;
- Patients with diabetes;
- Patients with nerve injuries;
- Patients with deep vein thrombosis.
Remember that good massage is a skill and should always be performed by a professional. Don’t let your friends or family just pummel your back; they don’t know where the nerves and blood vessels are.
If you don’t want to visit a professional, or there aren’t any in your area, you’re not out of luck. Keep reading to learn how you can reduce your pain from your own home.
How to Perform Sciatica Pain Relief Massage at Home
One of the easiest ways to treat, and even prevent, sciatica is by using a massage chair. You won’t have to worry about hiring a professional or going to a clinic—just lean back, relax, and let the chair do the work for you.
Most massage chairs have different settings for problematic areas. Before you sit down, familiarize yourself with the features you’ll want. There are countless types of massage chairs out there, so do a little research to find the seat that meets all your needs.
One of our favorite features is the zero gravity chair for sciatica, which is a guaranteed stress-reliever. You can check out all the massage chairs for sciatica we offer and pick your favorite. Start letting go of your pain today!
A little tip from us: add a few drops of an essential oil to your massage routine. These can have an aromatherapeutic effect, helping you release stress and enjoy the massage more. You can use this time to scroll on social media, read a book, listen to music, or just close your eyes and relax.
Living with sciatica can be a pain (literally), but you don’t have to put yourself through it. A massage is a simple fix that will help you let go of the discomfort and stress from a long work week. Why not treat yourself to a massage chair? Consider it an investment in your healthy future. A happy back means a happy life!