Is Massage Beneficial For Sciatica? Complete Guide

Sciatica is the terminology used to refer to discomfort around the sciatic nerve, which stretches from your lower back, across your hips and buttocks, and down either limb.

Sciatica usually impacts just one side of the body and can vary in magnitude from moderate to extreme. It is also followed by other signs, including numbness, tingling, or stiffness of the affected leg and foot.

Sciatica will interact with the everyday routines and make it impossible to stand, move, and even sit. If you would prefer to find an alternative to conventional painkillers, massage could be helpful. It may not cure the root cause of sciatica however, it may offer some immediate relief from discomfort.

Is Massage Beneficial For Sciatica?

Massage therapy is an important means of alleviating suffering. Research has shown that deep tissue therapy can be as beneficial as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to relieve low back pain, which can be a sign of sciatica.

Massage can benefit in two distinct ways when it comes to sciatica. The greatest advantage of massage is the soothing of tense muscles.

When your muscles are tight, you will place more strain on your nerves, particularly your sciatic nerve. Massaging these stressed muscles will help to reduce the strain on your sciatic nerve.

Soft tissue massage can also help to raise pain tolerance by encouraging endorphins. Endorphins enhance pleasure and alleviate discomfort, creating an increased feeling of well-being. They’re often released during se*, workout, and eating.

How Often Should You Get A Massage For Sciatica?

According to Healthline, a 2014 clinical research shows that low back pain, as well as sciatica, is successfully managed with 30-minute deep tissue therapy treatment methods that patients got five days a week for two weeks.

However, it is necessary to understand that the frequency of rehabilitation for sciatica depends on the person and the seriousness of their sciatica.

 In fact, certain patients find deep tissue massage to be too painful and might choose alternative types of massage, such as Swedish massage, which utilizes a softer flowing technique rather than a continuous finger pressure of deep tissue massage.

How To Massage Sciatica Trigger Points?

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Effects Of Massage On Nerves And Soft Tissues

Depending on the type of massage, a therapist could perform massage for your muscles, joints, nerves, and/or connective tissue layers deep below your skin. Examples of massage therapies involve deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, and neuromuscular therapy.

Massage Effects

Massage can trigger the changes to occur in your body, easing sciatica pain:

Relax Muscles

When your trunk, core, and lower back muscles are tense, they will put a strain on the sciatic nerve root(s) in your lower back. Tight muscles can often be knotted into thin, painful nodules, allowing point pain to trigger. Massage therapy can effectively stretch, relax and prolong these muscles that are enhancing pain in the lower back and legs.

Release Endorphins

Massage activates specific brain pressure receptors that are special nerve fibers. Stimulation of these pressure receptors helps relieve the discomfort by activating the body’s own feeling-good chemical, called endorphins.

Circulation Of Healing Nutrients

Hands-on soft tissue massage therapy activates the blood flow in your skin and deeper tissues. Increased supply of blood, oxygen, and other nutrients to the painful places promotes recovery.

Reduce Stress

Stimulation of pain receptors also helps decrease the amounts of cortisol in the body through the hormone that induces tension. Reduced tension tends to provide a sense of calm and relief, and a lower perception of discomfort.

Some therapists may use herbal oils or essential oils to massage the body. Any of these oils can have a healing impact on tissues which can help to relieve discomfort. 

The fragrance of these oils often tends to provide the overall impression of calm. If you are distracted by such forms of scents, tell your therapist before beginning a massage.

Massages are inherently secure when done by a skilled practitioner. Increased discomfort, soreness, weakness, and/or damage to blood vessels and/or nerves can occur rarely as a result of the forceful application of the pressure.

How Do You Permanently Cure Sciatica?

Regardless of the source, almost 90 percent of people with sciatica can get better without surgery most of them in only a few weeks. You should start to handle sciatica at home.

In reality, home care may be everything you need, particularly if you know that your sciatica is exacerbated by an accident or pregnancy.

And if you don’t realize what triggers sciatica, you should take action to ease your suffering at home. If the suffering is not manageable or in any other conditions, contact the doctor.

Heat and Cold

Both ice packs and heat are used to relieve the discomfort of sciatica and to make your work properly.

Using the ice for the first seven days. Place ice packs on your lower back to relieve sciatic nerve inflammation. Be alert not to give yourself frostbite. Icepacks do not actually contact the skin; they should be wrapped in a blanket or a sheet. 

Leave them in position for no longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time, or at least 15 or 20 minutes in between. Try the on-off-on loop (this will take between 75 and 100 minutes). Stop for a moment to see how you felt.

An ice massage is another way to apply cool to a sore region. Freeze the water in a paper cup and then rip the top half of the cup down. Massage the lower back with the ice using a circular motion. Cover a region of around six inches in diameter and hold the cup rotating to avoid frostbite.

Stop the bone portion of the spine. Massage for no longer than 10 minutes and wait at least one hour between the massages.

It’s all right to attempt some soft stretches between ice treatments, but it’s best to wait around half an hour for the region to warm up. Three to five applications a day may help to alleviate some of the pain.

Heat should be used for the first week when some healing has taken place and the discomfort has subsided. (If the discomfort has not subsided at least after a week, consult the doctor).

Heat treatments can improve the supply of blood to the region, which can promote healing. Heat can also loosen the muscles such that soft stretching will help to alleviate the discomfort.

Moving Around

Moving is perhaps the most effective thing you would do to deal with the pain. A lot of patients with sciatica placed themselves on bed rest, or lay back in an easy chair, hoping that this will allow them to recover. But it doesn’t!

It’s all right to relax for the first few days after the beginning of sciatica; after that, lying in bed generally makes things worse, not better. Moving improves the suffering in a variety of ways:

  • Strengthens the muscles, and serves to protect your back.
  • Flexibility and range of motion should be improved.
  • It increases blood supply to all parts of the body, including injured areas, and speeds up healing.
  • This reduces the perception of pain.

When you have sciatica, move as soon as you can as often as you can. If movement tends to make the pain intensify, it’s better to contact a doctor and talk about what’s going on.

When the sciatica is under control, keep moving to reduce the risk that it will return. Sitting for a long time isn’t healthy for anything. Extended sitting will raise the chance of sciatica and can even cause sciatica worse if you get it.

Can Massage Make Sciatica Worse?

Can massage cause sciatica worse if you have a tight muscle to blame for the problem? You wouldn’t think so, since a massage would relax muscle tissue and ease nerve pain. But here’s the thing. 

When the therapist massages the muscle, they still eventually have to stimulate the nerve since the two are so close together. The already inflamed nerve that causes acute sciatica is more likely to become more inflamed by the deep, concentrated work needed to enter and relieve the piriformis muscle. 

Therefore, if a severe flare-up of the nerve occurs or develops in the days immediately preceding the treatment, it will be best to try stretching exercises to release the muscle instead, and a qualified massage therapist will aid.

If the flare-up is older and has had an opportunity to slow down a little, or if sciatica is a recurring problem, then massage can be really helpful to release the muscle and relieve the strain on the nerve. 

It just depends on the actual condition of the sciatic nerve, and you would need to negotiate properly with a license and a well-trained massage therapist to make the right recovery decision for you.

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