The word “sciatica” refers to the pain and possible numbness felt along the sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body. Here’s how massage therapy helps sciatica and lower back pain.
While the word “sciatica” is sometimes used — incorrectly — for any lower back pain, it actually refers to a particular type of lower back pain. True sciatica is the result of irritation to the sciatic nerve roots in your lower back. The pain it causes can be excruciating. The symptoms can include a burning or throbbing pain that may occur in your foot or your leg. The sciatic nerve extends from your lower back through your buttocks and down your leg, and the pain is felt along its path. Its effects are usually felt only on one side of the body.
What Causes Sciatica?
When looking for the source of your sciatica, it is important to understand that sciatica is a symptom with many potential causes. Sciatica can be caused by:
- A herniated disc sometimes referred to as a slipped disc. A herniated disc can place pressure on nerves leaving the spinal column, which can result in sciatica.
- Poor posture when standing for long periods or when sitting in one position for long periods. Poor posture can exacerbate a herniated disc and result in it placing more pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Muscle spasms that compress the sciatic nerve.
While sciatica can affect people regardless of age, you are more likely to experience it in your 30s to your 50s.
How Massage Therapy Can Help Sciatica
- According to Massage Today, massage therapy can relieve pain caused by overly dense muscles. Muscles that are too dense can compress the sciatic nerve.
- When the muscles in your lower back are tense, they may place pressure on nerve roots. That pressure irritates them. Massage therapy can loosen up the muscles and alleviate irritation.
- Endorphins can provide relief from pain and massage can encourage your body’s release of endorphins.
If you have any more questions on how massage therapy can provide relief from sciatica, contact us at Edge Physical Therapy today.