Sciatica is a pain that results in the lower part of the body due to irritation of the Sciatic nerve. This pain is typically felt from the lumbar (low back) all the way to behind the thigh and can sometimes emanate from below the knee.
The largest nerve in the body is the sciatic nerve, and it starts from the nerve roots in the lumbar spinal cord in the low back and passes through the buttock area to send nerve endings down to the lower limb. Therefore, sciatica consists of leg pain that might feel like a bad leg cramp. It is a pain that can be shooting or excruciating that can make sitting or standing almost impossible. It can be worse when you sit, cough or even sneeze because your nerves will be involved. This condition can occur suddenly or develop slowly. It might cause you to feel numb, weak or a tingling, burning sensation that emanates down from the leg or your toes.
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Do sciatica exercises work?
It might seem obvious when people here about exercises but they are the best when it comes to relieving sciatic pain than going for a bed rest. When you decide to go for a bed rest, you can do it for a day or two but after some time, inactivity will worsen the pain and take you to even critical stages of the problem. If there are no exercises and movement, the spinal structures and the back muscles become DE-conditioned and lose their strength of supporting the back. This weakening and DE-conditioning can result to back injury and strain. The danger part of it is that it will add you further pain.
What I am insinuating here is that active exercises are important because they help to maintain the health of the spinal discs. When you engage yourself in movement, it will assist in the exchange of fluids and nutrients within the discs to keep them healthy. The significance of this is that it will prevent pressure on the sciatic nerve and leave you healthy and normal as always.
Typical exercises you can find yourself into include,
- The core muscle strength that is geared towards strengthening of the abdominal and back muscles to provide more support to the back
- Accurate diagnosis exercises that are geared towards addressing the primary cause of the sciatic pain so that you don’t engage yourself in the wrong practice as it may worsen the condition.
Can sciatica be treated with massage?
The symptoms of sciatica may not change, but many different conditions in the spine are a sure way of irritating the sciatic nerve. These include the Lumbar Herniated Disc, Lumbar Degenerative Disc, Isthmic Spondylolisthesis, Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, Piriformis Syndrome, and the Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. But the promising revelation is that there are other treatments that you can sort to help in relieving this condition, which includes the massage therapy.
Go out and find a seasoned therapist and he or she will be more than willing to provide a welcome relief from the leg pain that is caused by a problem that starts from the back. You should be aware that the goal of the massage therapy is to promote circulation and give a better healing that reduces the serenity of the condition. Don’t just go for any massage therapist but look for one that has experience in dealing with sciatic patients.
This is important because the technique that he or she will use is highly specialized. While doing the treatment, make sure that the therapist works on all the major muscles that support the area surrounding the back to ensure that no nerve will be left untreated. After the massage, always remember to maintain an intensive stretching exercise to keep the targeted muscles loose and relieve nerve compression.
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How to massage sciatica trigger points
Trigger points are small localized spasms of muscle that are known to refer pain. If you want to check these points, the best way is to use a trigger map that will direct you to each one of them. From the map, it is then easier to locate where your pain is. When doing a massage, you are required to use pressure from the thumb or finger.
You can also utilize a tennis ball to break these nerves down. You are recommended to use this criterion so that you don’t harm other nerves that have no problem at all. Press gently in the affected region until you realize where the pain is. Do it repeatedly to spread the pain out. What will happen in the end is that the pain will become less active in the affected region and finally cease with time. Trigger point has been rated as the most essential when it comes to treating back pain and sciatic nerve pain relief.
Exercises for Sciatica Pain Relief
In many cases of sciatica pain, a progressive exercise program is tailored to the primary cause of the problem.(It is important to obtain an accurate diagnosis from your health care professional before starting any exercises.) Some of the major ones include the following,
1. Piriformis muscle stretches
This is a muscle that is located deep in the hip and runs alongside the Sciatic nerve. When this nerve becomes deep, it can cause irritation to the Sciatic nerve. It will, in turn, lead to pain, numbness, and tingling. It goes without say that stretching the piriformis muscle is necessary so that it relieves the pain that might accrue in the region. This exercise can be done in different positions, and they include;
– By lying down and pulling the affected leg up towards the chest, then hold the knee with one hand and grasp the ankle with the other side.
– Lie down with your legs flat. Raise the affected leg and place its foot on the floor outside the opposite knee. You then pull the other leg across the midline of the body while using the opposite hand until the stretch is felt.
– Lie on the floor with the affected leg crossed over the affected leg but make sure both legs are bent. Slowly and gently pull the lower knee up towards your shoulder on the same side of the body until you feel the stretch
2. Hamstring exercises
Hamstrings are a group of three muscles that are located in the back of the thigh. They start from the pelvis and run all the way to the knee. These muscles are tight, and some stretching exercises are needed to keep them healthy and extended. But you should avoid bouncing because it can trigger a muscle spasm. When doing these exercises, make sure that you choose a comfortable position according to your medical condition. After that, start your exercises and perform them twice daily but always remember to warm up before you start them.
This condition can be so excruciating that you won’t be even comfortable to get out of the couch. Instead of running to a hospital for expensive treatments and medications, you can always try the above exercise to ease the pain. But if things don’t work well as you expected, then see a medical personnel.