Sciatica is the term for pain that occurs as a result of irritation of the sciatic nerve , irritation of the sciatic nerve occurs as a result of pressure in the spine on the nerve, and the sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, as it extends from the lower back and passes the hips and legs and ends below the knee, so Pain may occur in any part of the nerve that passes through and is not limited to back pain only, but the main symptom is a feeling of sharp pain in the back and legs, a feeling of numbness along the nerve, and a tingling sensation in the feet and fingers.
Sciatica is a symptom of disorders related to the sciatic nerve that controls the muscles of the lower legs, and sciatica can be treated with massage, and cognitive behavioral therapy contributes to relieving pain symptoms.
Sciatica treatment with massage
Massage is one of the effective ways to relieve pain in the tissues, and sciatica may be treated with massage to calm muscle tension, which reduces pressure on the sciatic nerve , and massage contributes to stimulating the secretion of endorphins, which gives a feeling of comfort and relieves pain.
There are several types of massage therapy for sciatica, and the type of massage is chosen for the affected person, and the types of massage include the following:
- Swedish Massage : used in this type of massage with flowing kneading movements to stimulate nerve endings in connective tissues, as well as increase blood flow, relieve stress, and promote relaxation.
- Deep Tissue Massage : This type of massage is considered powerful, in which slow strokes and deep finger pressure are used to remove tension and spasms from the tissues and muscles. A half-hour deep tissue massage for five days a week over a two-week period effectively relieves sciatica pain.
- Myofascial release : This is a technique used to relieve pain caused by the rigid membrane that surrounds the muscles (myofascial tissue). Fascial nerve tissue contains hard areas called trigger points. These points cause pain and stiffness, so this type of massage applies pressure to trigger points and reduces stiffness and pain.
- Neuromuscular massage : This type of massage uses advanced techniques that combine deep tissue massage with friction to remove muscle contraction and reduce tension in them.
- Hot Stone Massage : Hot stone massage enhances the feeling of relaxation and reduces muscle tension, and in this type of massage, hot stones are placed on certain parts of the body, then the therapist massages the area with these stones, and the Swedish massage technique may be combined With stones to increase the effectiveness of the treatment.
- Tennis ball massage: You can massage at home using a tennis ball and topical creams in the following way:
- Adhesive tape fixing two tennis balls together.
- Lie on the floor.
- Put the two balls on the pain areas in the lower back, buttocks, or upper thigh while lying down and move the ball gently over the body, and upon reaching the site of pain, gently press on it with the balls.
- Lumbar area can be massaged to relax tense back muscles.
Benefits of treating sciatica with massage
Sciatica treatment with massage offers many benefits, as many changes occur in the body, which helps relieve the pain of sciatica, and the changes that occur after massage include the following:
- Muscle relaxation and relaxation: When the back muscles are tight, they compress the sciatic nerve in the lower back, and these muscles may tangle together forming small painful knots, which leads to pressure on the trigger area. Sciatica treatment with massage relaxes these muscles, improves their function and reduces pain.
- Facilitate the nourishment of the arrival of nutrients in the pain area: The massage stimulates blood circulation in the skin and deep tissues, which enhances the access of food and oxygen to the sore areas and facilitates the recovery process.
- Stimulating the secretion of endorphins: Massage stimulates the receptors in the brain, which contributes to the secretion of the endorphins hormone, which is responsible for giving a feeling of happiness and comfort in the body, thus reducing pain.
- Reducing stress: Massage reduces the level of the hormone cortisol in the body, which reduces tension, gives a sense of comfort, relaxation and reduces the feeling of pain.
A study was conducted to find out the effectiveness of sciatica treatment with massage, such as increasing the range of motion, reducing pain and helping to heal back pain, and the person who was studied suffers from daily pain from sciatica during nine months, the intensity of pain ranges between mild to moderate.
The treatment was done with massage sessions once a week, for a period of 10 weeks, and each session lasted approximately 45 minutes, and the massage focused on the muscles of the spine, pelvic muscles, thigh and leg, and the results were as follows: Massage therapy showed effectiveness in reducing lower back pain , and increasing The ability to move and perform daily activities.
The best oils for massage
Usually, massage therapists use essential oils or aromatic oils with a therapeutic effect, and the smells of the oils contribute to giving more relaxation, and among the best types of oils that healers use in the process of treating sciatica with massage we mention the following:
- Fractionated Coconut Oil : Fractionated coconut oil is a light, non-greasy oil that is good for the massage process, as it has a lower viscosity than coconut oil, it does not have the characteristic coconut scent, and it does not stain the sheets and sheets. It should be used with caution by people with a coconut allergy.
- Sunflower oil: Sunflower oil is considered one of the light oils that do not leave a greasy trace, in addition to containing linoleic and palmitic acids, which are necessary for the health of the skin. It is worth noting that sunflower oil should be purchased in small quantities because it spoils quickly, and it must be stored in a cool and dark place, and not to be used by people who are allergic to the sunflower plant.
- Sweet almond oil: Sweet almond oil is one of the oils most used in the massage process, because it is quickly absorbed on the skin and does not cause skin irritation. It should be used with caution in people with nut and almond allergy.
- Jojoba oil: Jojoba oil is a wax-like oil in its texture, and it is good because of its anti-bacterial properties, which prevents the emergence of pimples after the massage process and does not cause skin irritation, and it is easy to absorb into the skin.
- Apricot kernel oil: This oil is similar in color and texture to sweet almond oil, but it is more expensive, but it has good features as it is rich in Vitamin E, easy to absorb into the skin and does not leave a greasy trace after use, and it is also a good alternative to sweet almond oil for people who suffer From a nut allergy.
- Other oils: There are several other options of heavy oils that are used in massage after mixing them with light oils or used for massaging in small areas, including the following:
- Avocado fruit oil.
- Cocoa Butter.
- olive oil.
- Grape seed oil.
- Shea Butter.
- Sesame oil.
- Wheat germ oil.
Exercises to treat sciatica
There are many sciatica exercises that contribute to the treatment and alleviation of pain, and before starting exercises to treat sciatica, it is necessary to locate the pain to find out the appropriate exercise for the area, and here are six sciatica exercises that can be practiced:
- Reclining Pigeon Pose : It is one of the stretching exercises and is used a lot in yoga exercises to move the hips, and this exercise is started to treat sciatica, and it can be applied by following the following steps:
- Lie flat on the back.
- Raise the right leg to a right angle, stabilize the hand behind the thigh, and close the fingers.
- Raise the left leg and place the right ankle over the left knee.
- Stay in this position for a bit.
- Repeat the other leg.
- When you can do this exercise without feeling pain, move on to the next exercise.
- Sitting pigeon pose : Apply this exercise by following the following steps:
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight forward.
- Bend the right leg and place the right ankle over the left knee.
- Bend forward until the body reaches the thigh.
- Hold this position for 15-30 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise for the other side.
- Forward pigeon pose : the exercise is applied as follows:
Kneeling on the floor on hands and feet.
- Raise the right leg and move it forward on the ground in front of the body while keeping the left leg on the ground and the body in a horizontal position.
- Extend the left leg back on the floor with the top of the foot on the floor and the toes back.
- Gradually move the body from arms to legs and sit upright with hands placed on either side of the legs.
- Take a deep breath, and when you exhale, tilt the upper body forward onto the outstretched leg.
- Repeat the exercise with the other side.
- Knee to Opposite Shoulder Exercise : This exercise helps relieve sciatica pain by relaxing the gluteal muscles and the pear muscle, which may be inflamed and put pressure on the nerve, and the exercise can be applied as follows:
- Lie on your back, extend your legs and bend your feet up.
- Bend the right leg and clasp the hands around the knee.
- Gently pull the right leg up toward the left shoulder for 30 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise with the left foot.
- Sitting spinal stretch : This exercise helps to stretch the spine and relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve, and the exercise is applied as follows:
- Sit on the floor with legs straight and feet up.
- Bend the right knee and place the foot flat on the floor.
- Place the left elbow on the outside of the right knee to gently move the body to the right.
- Stay in this position for 30 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise on the other side.
- Standing Hamstring Stretch : This stretch helps relieve sciatica pain in the hamstring, and it is applied as follows:
- Place the right foot on a surface above hip, such as a chair.
- Bending the foot up.
- Bending the body slightly forward, toward the foot.
- Move the raised leg down.
- Continue 30 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise on the other foot