You will encounter many different forms of massage depending where around the world you travel. However in this modern age, you can probably find all significant forms of massage within a close proximity.
Sciatica refers to the pain experienced on the sciatic nerve. This usually extends from a person’s lower back towards the buttocks and hips and extends down the two legs. Usually, sciatica affects one side of the body alone. The severity ranges from mild to severe cases.
Usually, sciatic is associated with other symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and weakness experienced in the affected foot or leg. Sciatica is a serious problem that can affect one’s daily activities. It can make walking, sitting, and standing difficult.
Massage therapy is sought after by patients who want a natural, alternative treatment to conventional painkillers. Massage won’t treat the root cause of sciatica. However, it might be able to provide temporary pain relief.
Read throughout this article to know more about massage therapy and how it can benefit people suffering from sciatica.
Benefits Of Massage For Sciatica
Massage therapy is a great method to help relieve pain. A study conducted in 2014 reported that deep tissue massage might be comparable to anti-inflammatory (non-steroidal) drugs to help relieve lower back pain, a common sciatica symptom.
Massage therapy can always help persons suffering from sciatica. The main goal of massage is to soothe tense muscles which put a lot of pressure on the nerves (e.g. sciatic nerve). When the tense muscles are massaged, pressure placed on the sciatic nerve is reduced.
Soft tissue massages help release and increase endorphin levels within the body. This can help increase a person’s pain threshold. Endorphins are hormones that promote pleasure, provide pain relief, and cause enhanced feelings of overall well-being. These hormones are released during exercise, sex, and eating as well.
Best Massage Types For Sciatica
Massage therapy are of different types and techniques. Evidence in regards to which massage type is best for sciatica has not been found yet. That’s why it all boils down to the preference of the person. The common types of massages used for sciatica are the following:
Swedish massage is the most common type of massage preferred by many. It is less aggressive and uses less pressure than deep tissue massage. Therapists use flowing, kneading motions in order to enhance blood flow and stimulate connective tissue nerve endings. Swedish massages are great for releasing overall tension and promoting relaxation.
Deep Tissue Massage
This is an aggressive type of massage and uses more pressure compared to Swedish massages. Slow strokes in addition to deep finger pressure are used by therapists to release muscle tension and tension found within connective tissues.
One clinical study reported that deep tissues massages are effective in the treatment of lower back pain associated with sciatica. In this study, deep tissue massages were provided to participants for about 5 days per week. The massages span 30 minutes in length and were given for about 2 weeks.
Myofascial release is a form of therapy that aims to relieve pain coming from your myofascial tissues. The said tissues refer to the tough membrane that supports and surrounds your muscles.
Trigger points refer to the immovable, stiff areas located within myofascial tissues. These trigger points lead to stiffness and pain. During a myofascial release session, stretching of the trigger points and applied focused pressure helps to relieve pain and reduce stiffness.
This type of massage utilized advanced techniques. It uses deep tissue pressure in combination with friction in order to loosen contracted muscles and help relieve muscle tension.
Hot Stone Massage
This is generally opted for by person who wish to promote relaxation. It also helps to soothe tense muscles. During a hot stone massage, the therapist places heated stones on various parts of the body. In addition, a therapist might perform techniques commonly used in Swedish massages.
Finding The Right Therapist
If you wish to opt for massage therapy, it is best to choose a therapist that has experience in patients with sciatica. You can ask your physician for a referral. Or, you can get recommendations from family and friends. Databases by professional organizations can also be used to find the right therapist for you.
There are some factors you have to consider when selecting the right therapist. Below are some of them:
It also boils down to preference. If you prefer a male therapist, then go ahead with one. Most people prefer therapists of the same gender. If you are more comfortable with a particular therapist, then go for him or her.
You have to opt for a therapist that will work with you during the hours when you are available.
You can choose a massage therapist that works nearby. Or, you can opt for therapists who offer in-home services if you prefer to. You don’t want to drive miles just to get a massage, don’t you?
Ask the therapist how much you have to shell out per session. You can also ask if they have cost-saving incentives (e.g. option for sliding-scale).
Ensure that the massage therapist is licensed within your state. Make sure you ask the therapist of his or her credentials and experience. Most states have regulations when it comes to practicing the profession.
Massage therapist can be trained on different massage types. However, some prefer to focus on one to three massage types alone. Ask your therapist on which massage type they’re most experienced with.
Experience With Sciatica Patients
Ask your therapist if he or she has experience in treating patients with sciatica. Talk about your condition and learn if he or she could help with the symptoms through massage therapy.
It is important to note that you should tell your therapist all health conditions you might have before you make the first step. You can also check your health insurance company if they cover costs for massage therapy. Some do reimburse massage therapy expenses especially if it is for certain underlying conditions.
The Bottom Line
Massage therapy won’t cure sciatica outright. However, it can help with relief of symptoms including pain and thus improve one’s quality of life. It is best to talk to your physician before opting for massage therapy. This is to ensure that it is safe for your condition. If you got the “go” advice, then you can find a professional massage therapy clinic that would help you with sciatica and its symptoms.