Sciatica

Common Questions About Sciatica:

  • What is sciatica?
  • What causes sciatica?
  • Should I get a steroid or cortisol injection to treat my sciatica?
  • How can massage help me with sciatica if nothing else has worked?
  • How long does the pain and numbness last?
  • What movements or body positions should I avoid while I have sciatica?
  • Is sciatica hereditary?

Muscles Involved:

Piriformis

Superior Gemellus

Obturator Internus

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, its even larger than the spinal chord. A nerve that is as thick as a thumb does not like to be sat on for long periods of time. Depending on genetics, some people have a sciatic nerve that grows through the piriformis muscle, rather than underneath it. Those who have this condition may be more-likely to experience a sciatic nerve impingement.

Sciatica is described by it’s victims as pins and needles, or a strong numbness that runs all the way down the leg. I often find that a client experiencing sciatica symptoms may also have trouble with low back pain, or a sense of chronic weakness in the legs. Sciatica is a very popular neuromuscular condition, and many healthcare practitioners have their own different methods of treating it. Some of these methods work for some people, while the same methods may not improve the condition for others.

A chiropractor, who specializes in bones will accurately tell you that the source of your numbness lies between lumbar vertebra 4 (L4) and Sacrum 1 (S1) (see anatomy photos above). A bulging or herniated disk, a vertebra that is out of alignment, tail-bone fractures and other bone-tissue related conditions do often cause sciatica. I will leave the bone-tissue diagnostics to the bone specialists. However, I will argue that sciatica is most-likely the result of a muscular condition. If your x-ray says that you are good to go, and your doctor does not think that you have a spinal, or nerve-degenerative condition, yet you still have numbness in your legs, please try to go see a muscle specialist.

As a neuromuscular massage therapist, when I work with a client who has sciatica, I often note that by releasing trigger points in the client’s piriformis muscle, as well as other muscles in the gluteal region, sciatica related symptoms can be completely eliminated with manual therapy methods. The explanation does not have to be complicated, the treatment does not always have to involve expensive injections, pills, or surgeries.

In many cases sciatica is the result of a muscular impingement. If you sat on your wallet all day because you drive a big-rig, or your legs go numb because you work at a desk for 8 hours every day, then there is a good chance that massage can provide you with relief.

To read about other muscular conditions, click the menu button at the top right corner of this page.

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