Treating Sciatica With Massage Therapy

Let's talk sciatica and how to self-treat it using a Thera Cane. Sciatica is usually associated with a pain shooting down from the hip to the leg and can sometimes cause numbness in the leg. But what exactly is sciatica? It's an inflammation of sciatic nerve which runs through the hip and down the side of your leg.

The most commonly reported symptoms are a radiating pain traveling from the hip to the leg. Sciatica is caused by a pinch of the nerve in the lower back. Usually this is because of a herniated discs or a bone spur. Sciatica can be medically treated with surgery, but most doctors consider this a last resort.

In some cases, the pain that shoots down the leg is actually caused by nothing more than tight gluteal muscles. Let's refer to this as pseudo-sciatica. It is not really sciatica, but there are usually similar pain symptoms caused by trigger points. Trigger Points are the tight spots in muscles that are stuck in a contracted state and forgot to release. In the case of pseudo-sciatica, these trigger points are located in the gluteus minimus, and can be treated with massage therapy.

The trigger points that likely cause pseudo-sciatica can be sore or painful to touch. They also cause pain elsewhere, which is called radiating or referred pain. If you can loosen these trigger points through massage, it can cause relief of pain symptoms. That's why massage provides a great option for those suffering from these symptoms.

Treating With a Lacrosse Ball

To treat the trigger points, you'll need to locate the hip bone. Next, go down on the side of the hip and find the greater trochanter. It's a big bump located on the top of the thigh bone. The gluteus minimus will be located between these two locations. You can also lean side to side and feel this muscles contracting as you lean in towards the targeted side. If you are using a lacrosse ball, place it on your gluteus minimus and press the ball against a wall. Now roll the ball over the tight spot at least 10 times, or for 20-30 seconds. For symmetry, repeat this process on your other side, even if it's not bothering you.

Treating With a Thera Cane

If you have a Thera Cane (and you should!), place the ball on the tip of your cane on the gluteus minimus trigger point from behind. Hold the cane in a comfortable position using both hands. Now lean to the other side, and press on the tight spot about 10 times. Repeat on the other site for symmetry.

If this seems to help, you can repeat this 3-6 times each day for the maximum benefit. Massage can be a great, non-invasive way to deal with minor aches and pains. Give it a try!