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Bodywork for Sciatica Relief

September 1, 2021

Bodywork for Sciatica Relief

When you experience pain, your first thought is likely how to relieve it. Sciatica pain can range from being uncomfortable to unbearable. It is often described as a burning sensation, tingling or numbness in the lower back, buttocks, front and/or back of the thighs or feet. Sciatica can make it difficult to stand, sit or sleep. Bob Tricomi, owner of Bodywork Masters, urges those suffering from sciatica to make an appointment as soon as you feel any symptoms. To prevent permanent nerve damage, it is necessary to relieve the pressure to the sciatic nerve, and should be done as soon as possible.

Is it Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome?

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body. It runs from your lower back, hips, buttocks and down each leg. Typically sciatica is caused by a bulging or herniated disk that impinges on the nerve. The pain caused by this can feel similar to other issues that may require an entirely different treatment plan. Sometimes there is an impingement that occurs at the piriformis muscle (located in the gluteal region). This is known as Piriformis Syndrome. Because it presents itself with similar symptoms as sciatica, misdiagnosis can occur. At Bodywork Masters, we assess both regions to ensure proper diagnosis and develop subsequent treatment plans.

Causes of Sciatica

The development of sciatica can occur over time or have a sudden onset.  A motor vehicle accident, sports injury or a fall can lead to the onset of sciatica. Age-related changes in the spine, such as herniated disks, bone spurs and obesity are the most common causes of sciatica. When there is damage, strain or inflammation around the sciatic nerve, we may experience pain. The stress or tightness in your fascia may also put pressure on your disks and may lead them to bulge, causing inflammation and irritation surrounding the nerve.

Some other causes of sciatica:

  • Lumbar herniated disk
  • Direct compression to the sciatic nerve
  • Inflammation of the tissue around the sciatic nerve

Why Bodywork Works on Sciatica

Bodywork is a holistic approach to healing the tissue by using multiple techniques such as myofascial release, deep tissue massage, and cupping as well as other therapeutic techniques. These hands on therapies help release the pressure and inflammation on the sciatic nerve thereby decreasing pain and speeding up the healing process. 

Sciatica generally lasts 4-6 weeks but can last up to 8 or more weeks with chronic sciatica. Bodywork can help relieve the intensity and duration of the unpleasant symptoms. At Bodywork Masters, our clients report a 70-90% decrease in pain after the first session and complete relief within a few sessions.  

When you come to Bodywork Masters, you will receive an initial assessment to determine what is causing your pain. Is it Sciatica or Piraformis Syndrome or could it be both?! We will determine the right treatment and develop a plan specifically tailored for you. Often times during the assessment the bodyworker will find tight muscles, fascial adhesions (where the tissue/muscle adheres to bone or other muscles) and misaligned fascial patterns (when the fascia or muscle move in the wrong direction due to strained or tight muscles.) When the body’s fascial tissue is out of alignment, it can compress nerves. If this occurs near the lower back disks, it could cause pressure on the sciatic nerve or the piraformis muscle. By palpating, or manually manipulating the tissue, we determine the region of the impingement. Once we identify that, we can then release the tension with various techniques such as myofascial release, the Graston Technique or cupping.

Whether it is a bulging disk or inflammation around the nerve, bodywork will be done to relieve the pressure surrounding the nerve to decrease the pain. 

Why bodywork works: 

  • Relaxes tight muscles surrounding the sciatic nerve
  • Improves circulation
  • Reduces stress on the disk(s)
  • Fosters a better healing environment for the tissue

In a 2014 study published by The Scientific World Journal, bodywork treatments such myofascial release, deep tissue and manual manipulation of the tissue surrounding the sciatic nerve were shown to be as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs at relieving sciatica.

Bodywork Masters is the place to come for relief of pain for Sciatica, Piriformis Syndrome and any other muscle/tissue related disorders. 

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