Sciatica is a very common condition that many people have heard of. It is a type of pain which is caused by an irritated or compressed nerve. It usually affects one side. The sciatic nerve can become irritated through various parts and structures of the body. It originates from the lower spine, travels down through the buttock and branches off into numerous nerves into the feet. Due to its structure sciatica is often associated with the nerve compression within the lower spine or pinching/rubbing through musculoskeletal structures. In some cases, sciatica can last days, weeks, or even months!
Sciatica can be identified by moderate to severe pain in the lower back, buttock or down the leg. You may experience changes in sensations, for example, numbness, tingling, pins and needles, sharp pain, jolts or burning sensations. There may be weakness or loss of function of the leg. Sciatic pain can be worse when coughing, sneezing or sitting for a long time.
- Slipped/herniated/prolapsed disc
- Piriformis syndrome
- Spinal stenosis
- Bending in an awkward or unusual position
- Sudden action or movement
Depending on what is affecting the sciatic nerve, sports massage can be a very beneficial way of reducing pain. One of the main benefits is to soothe tense muscles, which is likely to reduce pain. Stress is often associated with muscle tension. When muscles are tense, it can cause pressure on nerves, whether the muscle structures are compressing, rubbing or pinching the nerve. Sports massage can relax the surrounding muscular structures. It will also encourage the release of endorphins and decrease the levels of stress hormones (cortisol). Calming the nervous system can help in reducing muscular tension.
Here at b2 Chalfont Clinic, your practitioner will also prescribe specific exercises to help strengthen and mobilise the tissues in the lower back, pelvis, abdomen, buttocks and thighs. The main aim is to help relieve sciatic pain which can occur in any of those areas. It is also important to restore pain free functional movement patterns to allow individuals to return to their daily life activities and routines. It’s not always possible to prevent sciatica and the condition can come back. To protect your back it is important to exercise regularly. To keep the back strong, you need to work the core muscles. It is also important to keep good posture when sitting, choose a seat that has good lower back support and armrests. For better lower back support, place a pillow in the small of the back to keep its normal curve and keep the knees and hips level.