Back pain comes in various types and magnitudes and it all depends on the source of pain. Depending on the cause, back pain may be immediate or slow, and the pain may bother the patient for a few days or for good! Sometimes, it takes different diagnoses through complicated devices to identify the cause and sometimes it is identified simply and easily. One of the easily diagnosed back pains is the sciatica pain which can be cured in different ways from home remedies to complicated surgeries, depending on the pain severity. Effective treatment for sciatica pain is massage therapy. To begin with, we can see what sciatica is at all.
What is Sciatica
Sciatica pain is an uncomfortable feeling in the sciatic nerve, the body’s longest nerve which starts from the brain and runs along one’s lower back to hips and then branches into each of the legs. The sciatic nerve is responsible for carrying messages from the brain to the spinal cord and legs.
When Does Sciatic Nerve Become Painful
The sciatic nerve is irritated when it is compressed by the surrounding bones and muscles. The sciatic nerve is very sensitive and can be damaged by any form of the wrong posture, including lifting heavy objects, nerve swelling, injury, infection, or even pregnancy when the growing uterus and fetus put extra pressure on the sciatic nerve. In more complicated problems, diseases such as spondylolisthesis, osteophyte, a herniated disk, a spasm in the piriformis muscle which is located deep in the gluteal region of the lower limbs, or spinal narrowing, can lead to sciatic pain.
What Are Sciatica Symptoms
The problem can start with muscle tightness and expand to muscle numbness and immovability. Sciatica pain symptoms include inflammation, excruciating shooting pain in one leg, muscle tingling and weakness in the lower back or legs, poor bladder control, burning sensation in the lower extremities, diminished reflexes and numbness which start from one side of the lower back and go down into one leg. Sciatica pain and symptoms can get worse when the patient moves, sits, or even coughs and sneezes. Therefore, the number one request for almost all patients is to find the best way of easing the pain.
How Can Sciatica Pain Be Relieved
Sciatica pain severity can range from mild to severe and it can be acute or chronic. Chronic and severe sciatica pain requires more professional treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or more serious surgeries including discectomy and microdiscectomy. Nevertheless, acute sciatica pain can be alleviated through over-the-counter painkillers, special exercises, slow walking, light stretching, and hot compression packs. Nevertheless, there is also another more effective and less harmful way of treating sciatica pain: a gentle and comforting massage treatment.
How Can Massage Therapy Reduce Sciatica Pain
If performed gently and expertly on the lower back, massage therapy can act similar to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in alleviating sciatica pain and comforting the sciatic nerve, yet with almost no harmful side effects. Massage therapy works in two different ways:
- By lessening the tension and tightness in lower back muscles that are causing pressure on the nerve roots
- By encouraging the release of endorphin and serotonin that temporarily soothe the pain
A professional massage therapist can relieve muscle tension and as a result, reduce the pressure on the sciatic nerve. On the other hand, a soft tissue massage can help to release pain-fighting endorphin and serotonin, which can also increase the patient’s pain threshold. Furthermore, the patient’s higher mental and emotional relaxation can improve their conditions and accelerate their healing.
What Should You Do Before Having a Massage Therapy Session
First and foremost, you have to visit a specialist physician in order to be properly and prudently diagnosed before receiving any type of massage. The location and severity of pain, the extent of motion limitations, and the onset of pain should be identified by the physician. After the disease diagnosis and receiving immediate medication, you should definitely consult with your physician about receiving massage therapy treatment to see if your conditions allow you to benefit from the massage treatment.
While discussing the topic with your physician, you can tell them about your goal and ask them to help you in finding a massage therapy specialist. If your goal is to reduce muscle tension, then you probably have to visit a massage therapist who can proficiently perform neuromuscular therapy, a type of massage therapy with a focus on reducing pressure on the areas of muscle spasm. Nevertheless, a simple Swedish massage works well if you only want to stimulate your endorphin and serotonin production.
What Should You Do During a Massage Therapy Session
After finding the best possible spa or massage clinic, and also a registered and qualified massage therapist, take some time and discuss with the therapist about the goal you want to achieve and your special complications. Make sure that your massage therapist is fully aware of any problem you may have, including any recent surgery, bone fracture, skin problems, pregnancy, etc. Particularly, if you are pregnant, it is better to choose an informed therapist who is trained in pregnancy massage. Moreover, make sure that your massage therapist applies the therapy while you are in the right position.
In any case, while you are receiving the massage, you have to feel light strokes and it should not be too painful. However, the patient might also feel a little and slight discomfort or soreness during and after the session, which actually means you are healing. Moreover, you should also consider the fact that it takes time to recover, have your pain subsided, and regain your craved wellbeing. Therefore, it is better to have regular and repetitive massage therapy sessions to obtain tangible results. Usually, massage therapists advise a few sessions of therapy while your progress is checked in each session.