Massage for Sciatic Pain
Sciatic pain can range from being a slight annoyance to extremely painful. It often makes everyday living very uncomfortable. Most of the sciatic pain is from a small nerve which is (obviously) called the sciatic nerve being compressed by a small muscle called the piriformis which is located in the gluteus (buttocks) region. The piriformis muscle helps rotate the hip. The sciatic nerve also runs up into the lower back (spine) and can also be responsible for lower back pain.
Often times I have to listen carefully to what clients are saying because many of them do not realize that it's sciatic pain. Sometimes they cannot really point to the specific location of the pain but just numbness or tingling down the thigh. If they tell me they have lower back pain and it travels down to the thigh and leg, then sciatic compression is suspected and I'll make sure to work not only the lower back, SI joint and hips, but also the gluteus and piriformis muscles. Since the sciatic nerve can be irritated anywhere from the lower back to the leg, I use a comprehensive approach to relieve the pain.
Usually massage of the lower back, SI joint and loosening the hips along with deep compression into the piriformis muscle is enough to alleviate the pain. In stubborn cases I find that hot stones can be quite helpful in loosening stubborn gluteus muscles. Gentle pin and stretch really helps open up the hip joint and stretches that piriformis muscle which I find really helps with sciatic pain.
If you're having lower back pain, hip pain or numbness that travels down your thigh, seek out a qualified massage therapist. Don't be afraid to ask the therapist, before you make an appointment, if they work on the glutes (butt muscles) because I have seen too many massage therapists who refuse to work the area even though it’s a major muscle group. When I work on the glutes I work through the linen so it's comfortable for the client. Compression, pin and stretch and friction can all be done through the linen. Just because this is how I work the glutes does not mean it's the only way. Some massage therapists may work directly on the glutes without the linen, but the client is also draped so nothing is exposed. DO NOT EVER be embarrassed about your glutes or your body. Massage therapists are trained professionals. We don't look at body size or judge you. We are here to help alleviate your pain.