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Pain relief for sciatica with sports massage


Is sciatica causing you pain? How can sports massage ease sciatic pain? How else might a sports massage therapist provide pain relief through sciatica treatment, care and support? City Sports Massage shows you how the right sports massage therapist can help…

What is sciatica?

Sciatica describes a set of symptoms that can include lower back pain, pain in the glutes (buttocks), pain shooting down the leg, and numbness or tingling in parts of the leg and foot. It often is just experienced on one side of the body, and sciatic pain can be debilitating and exhausting to live with.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica is caused by irritation to the sciatic nerve. Common causes are tight muscles in the lower back or glutes/buttocks, a herniated disc (slipped disc), or pregnancy. It can also be caused by trauma to the spine through an accident. Less commonly, sciatica can be caused by spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal column) or a growth or infection.

Sports massage can ease tight muscles that cause sciatica

Sports massage can ease tight muscles that cause sciatica

What is piriformis syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome describes a case where the muscle known as the piriformis (which is deep in the glutes/buttocks) compresses the sciatic nerve, creating sciatic pain. This can be caused by posture, or physical activity/overuse.

Does sports massage provide effective sciatica treatment?

In cases where muscle tightness and stiffness is causing impingement of the sciatic nerve (such as piriformis syndrome), then yes. Early treatment intervention can prevent chronic muscular tightness establishing itself. However, even in cases where chronic muscular tightness is already presenting itself, sports massage can still be an effective intervention.

Often sciatica creates a cycle of pain; once the sciatic nerve has been irritated by tight muscles, the body can further contract around the sensation of pain, to try to ‘protect’ the area. This exacerbates the original tightness, further compressing the area around the sciatic nerve. A good sports and remedial therapist can manually locate, ease and soften tight muscles, providing relief of pressure; and relief of pain.

If there are other underlying issues that created the primary irritation to the sciatic nerve (and the muscles simply reacted to try to protect the area), then sports massage can work in support of other treatment modalities. Once you have a diagnosis of sciatica, it is important to inform your sports massage therapist of the full details.

How else might a good sports massage therapist provide sciatica care and support?

A good sports and remedial massage therapist can show you how to stretch to ease and mobilise stiff muscles that are causing sciatica. City Sports Massage in London also specialise in teaching breathing and body awareness skills that can enhance the efficacy of stretching and mobilisation – making it less of a chore, and more like something that feels relevant and helpful. It can be reassuring to know that not only can sports massage be effective for sciatica treatment, but also that YOU can be involved in improving on, and maintaining the benefits that sports massage has provided.

Please note that this article is for general information purposes only. If you are suffering from sciatica, diagnosis should be carried out by your Doctor, or a medical professional. City Sports Massage are not liable for the content of any external websites.

© Jon Gee 2013 Jon Gee is the founder of City Sports Massage, a team of sports massage therapists based in London who combine deep-tissue massage therapy with stress-reduction and body-awareness techniques. Jon’s articles have been published in the peer reviewed Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies. He specialises in teaching postgraduate sports massage therapists advanced intuitive massage skills through the application of his mindfulness-based approach. Jon’s work teaching therapists enables them to teach their clients how to develop their own pain relieving, body awareness skills.