Sciatica is a pain in the lower extremities, which results from irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic pain is usually felt on only one side of the body, but in some cases, it can affect both sides. It is characterized by severe pain, numbness, and tingling that can spread from the lower back to the feet.
Where Is the Location of the Sciatic Nerve?
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body which starts at the back of the pelvis and extends throughout the buttock area and branches out into the feet.
What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain?
Sciatic pain can be a result of:
- Bulging or Herniated Disc: This happens when the jelly interior of the disc pushes in the exterior disc.
- Trauma: As a result of sports injuries or some accidents.
- Spinal Tumors: This condition is a rare one, but it can compress the sciatic nerve.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition affects the lumbar spine and the vertebra slips out of position.
- Piriformis Syndrome: The muscle spasm in the Piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve.
- Spinal Stenosis: Narrowing of the nerve passages in the spine or nerve compression disorder.
- Pelvic injury or fracture: Damage of the pelvis, which can cause sciatic pain when lifting.
How Is Sciatica Diagnosed?
This condition can be diagnosed through physical and medical history. Some medical tests such as CT scans, x-rays, and MRI can help in the diagnosis of the right cause of the problem.
Common Forms of Treatment
Sciatic pain can be treated with different methods depending on the origin of the problem, including:
- Pain relievers
- Muscle relaxants
- Chiropractic care
- Radio Frequency Infections
- Ice or Heat
- Physical Therapy
- Topical Preparations
4 Simple Massage Techniques for Relief
1. Palm and Thumb Massage
- Place your palms on the lower back and rub the area towards your spine and your buttocks.
- Place your hands at the waist with your thumbs on the ropelike muscles near the spine. Wrap the fingers around the sides.
- With your thumbs press the spine on the outer edges of the ropey muscles. Make sure your thumbs are 4 inches apart.
- Apply pressure without the feeling of discomfort.
2. Tennis Ball Massage
- The tennis ball will help you apply acupressure on your lower back.
- Wrap two tennis balls in a towel or sock and place them on the floor.
- Sit on the floor, bend your knees and place the balls behind you.
- Lie on the floor with the balls under your back. Rest in this position for one minute.
- When the back tension is gone, place the tennis balls in another area where you feel more tension.
- Lie in a fetal position with your arm under your head and rest in this position for 5 minutes.
3. Knuckle Pressure
- Lie flat on the floor with bent knees.
- Make fists and place them on both sides of your lower back.
- The fists should be between the spine and the lower back muscles. Lie in this position for one minute.
4. Sciatica Stretches
Watch this video:
Invest in Personal Care Equipment
If you experience pain in the back, hip, or legs you should buy some equipment that will help you relieve pain, such as:
- Tennis Balls
- Kong Dog Toy: This toy can be placed below the hip and increase the pressure as you roll on it.
- Spinal Roller: This hard tube is especially effective for hip pain.
- Knobble: A more focused type of pressure that can be applied to specific spots on the hip.
- Body Back Buddy: This S-shaped tool with knobs can apply pressure to different points on the body.
When Moving Hurts
Sciatica can trigger severe movement pain. This can be a result of stiff and weak muscles because of long periods of lying or sitting. With exercise, the blood flow will improve and the muscles will receive an additional amount of oxygen.
If you find some exercises difficult, try some others with low impacts such as water aerobics, swimming, or yoga. Before you start doing some exercise, make sure you consult your doctor.
Via Spine Health