Many of my massage clients have come to me looking for relief from sciatic nerve pain. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body. When this nerve is irritated, or impinged, one can experience excruciating shooting pain and tingling down the leg and into the foot. Other symptoms may include a cramping and/or burning sensation in the thigh, and deep, severe pain on one side of the low back. Pain from sciatic nerve impingement or irritation can be debilitating, and limit one’s ability to enjoy the activities they love. I love helping my clients improve their quality of life by helping them manage and eliminate pain caused by sciatic nerve impingement and irritation. As with any painful condition, my approach to helping my clients heal includes addressing my client’s whole being – mind, body, & spirit.
First and foremost, I encourage my clients to have a mindset that is conducive to healing. One must acknowledge that the pain they are experiencing is a problem and is interfering with their enjoyment of life. Healing and resolving chronic pain is rarely an overnight fix. Prepare yourself for a journey. It is likely to require changes that may bring you out of your comfort zone, so a commitment to positive thinking and being open to trying new things are crucial. Often it is a lifetime of bad habits that have contributed to the stored-up tensions that are causing pain. I will support you by encouraging you, making recommendations, and providing resources throughout the process.
Secondly, we will begin to address the functional issues. Sciatica symptoms are often the result of gluteal muscles being tight, or inflamed, and pinching the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle is typically the site of actual impingement, but in most cases, all the gluteal muscles are tight and contributing to the problem. In some cases, the nerve is being irritated by the low back muscles around the spine at the L4 and L5 vertebrae or at S1 and L5 vertebrae. In your massage session, I will palpate for muscle dysfunction and trigger points in the low back and gluteal area. After some deep breathing and long gliding strokes to assist your body in relaxing, I will use trigger point therapy and compressions to eliminate stored tensions. Many of my clients report immediate relief from their pain. Regular massage sessions will create new muscle memory, retraining these muscles to remain in their natural, relaxed state as opposed to the contracted state they have become accustomed to.
For best results, your commitment to healing should continue after you leave my office. If you truly want to live without sciatic nerve pain, I highly recommend a commitment to self-care. Pain is a message from the body, and for optimum healing results, one must devote time and attention to learning to listen to their body. Massage therapy will help you feel more connected and tuned in to your body, fostering a better mind/body connection. As you tune in to your body, you will likely find that you have significant imbalances that are contributing to your sciatic nerve pain. You may find that you need to make some lifestyle changes. Is sitting for too long causing the gluteal muscles to tighten up? I will make recommendations for stretches to do throughout your day. Are your glutes and low back where you store your stress? I will make recommendations and provide resources for implementing practices that counteract the effects of stress. Is wearing high heels contributing to your low back and glute muscle dysfunction? Well… hopefully you know what I will suggest if this is the case.
Pain from sciatic nerve impingement and irritation is no joke. It can seriously affect your life and steal your joy. However, there is no reason for you continue to live with that pain. I have had excellent results helping my clients find relief from this condition by providing them with therapeutic massage, encouraging a mindset that is conducive to healing, and providing resources and recommendations for habit change in your lifestyle.
In Peace & Health,
Nikki Terry, LMBT