Massage for Sciatica
June 20th, 2014
The Sciatic nerve emerges from the spinal cord at the lower lumbar vertebrae and travels the length of the leg. Any impingement upon the sciatic nerve can cause a painful condition known as Sciatica. The pain will typically begin in the back or the affected buttock and travel down the leg, sometimes all the way to the foot.
The sciatic nerve is interesting because as it makes its way through the buttock, it passes between two of the rotator muscles: the Piriformis and the Obdurator Internus. Adhesions between these two muscles (or excess tightness of the Piriformis) can pinch the sciatic nerve, causing sciatic pain.
One common massage treatment for sciatica is therefore to lengthen & differentiate the rotators from eachother. This can be accomplished by a skilled therapist trained in Deep Tissue work. Differentiation basically involves severing any adhesions that exist between two muscles with focused pressure and precision.
Adhesions are formed when two muscles bind into eachother, usually via scar tissue. If significant adhesions exist between two muscles, their ability to function independently is impaired. This can exacerbate the condition. Typical causes of adhesions include:
- Injury (i.e. falling very hard on one's rump, as might happen while snowboarding or ice skating)
- Working out until you "feel the burn" and not really stretching out afterwards, especially on an intense, habitual basis, such as in bodybuilding, weightlifting, or marathon training.
- Long-term postural misalignments
The good news about adhesions is that expert Deep Tissue massage, particularly Structural Integration and Rolfing, have techniques designed specifically to deal with them. Rapid resolution may result in noticeably increased mobility within just 1-3 sessions.
The other common cause of Sciatica is impingement on the nerve within the spinal column itself. This may be caused by:
- Significant misalignment of the lower back.
- Bulging disks between the lumbar vertebrae.
- Excess compression within the lower back.
Again, Deep Tissue massage therapy techniques exist to address these issues. In particular, lengthening and spreading the muscles of the lower back can not only relax hyper-tense muscles, but can subtly stretch the affected area in ways that may contribute to relieving the pain-causing pressures.
For more information, please see Deep Tissue Massage, Structural Integration, Sports Massage, Deep Lomi Lomi, or Thai Massage. To reserve an appointment with Aloha Massage Kauai, please call (808) 635-2789(808) 635-2789.