Ever felt a pain that starts in your lower back then travels down one of your legs? If so, chances are it could be sciatica, a frustrating symptom experienced by about 40% of Americans at some point during their lifetime.
At Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists in Arlington, Virginia, sciatica specialists John Huffman, MD, and Talal Ghazal, MD, frequently see patients who describe the symptoms of sciatica. The question on everyone’s mind? What’s causing this pain and how can you make it stop?
Different therapies exist to help manage sciatica—including non-invasive massage therapy. Here’s a closer look at sciatica, when massage therapy can help, and other ways our team can help you find relief.
Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis but rather a symptom of another underlying issue, usually something pressing on or irritating the sciatic nerve. This nerve is the longest in the body, running from the lumbar area of the spine, through the buttocks, and down each leg.
The sciatic nerve is responsible for connecting the spinal cord with the leg and foot muscles. Common symptoms that mean you could have sciatica include:
- Sharp pain in the lower back or hip that radiates down the leg
- Numbness or weakness in the leg or foot
- A burning or tingling sensation along the nerve path
- Difficulty moving or feeling a constant 'pins-and-needles' sensation
Since different underlying conditions can cause sciatica, it’s important to see a medical professional, like a team member at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists, for an accurate diagnosis.
Massage therapy for sciatica
The pain from sciatica can be intense and limiting. One avenue many patients explore is massage therapy. Besides being a less invasive treatment that doesn’t have the same side effects as pain medication or more aggressive therapies, it comes with added benefits:
Massage helps stimulate blood flow. As such, for sciatica patients, this therapy can ease the inflammatory agents causing pain.
Tightened muscles can sometimes compress the sciatic nerve. A massage helps relax these muscles, potentially offering relief.
If you’re struggling with sciatic pain, you know it can limit your movement. Regular massage can improve flexibility, reducing pain during daily tasks.
Don't underestimate the power of relaxation. Lower stress levels can indirectly help manage and reduce pain.
Signs it’s time to consider massage therapy for sciatica
How do you know when it's the right moment to book that massage session? The best way is by scheduling a consultation with a sciatica expert, like the team at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists in Northern Virginia. In the meantime, here’s a look at some of the signs that could indicate massage therapy is the right treatment for you:
You’re experiencing chronic pain
If your sciatica symptoms have persisted for more than a few weeks without improvement, it might be time to explore therapeutic massage.
Pain medications aren't enough
When over-the-counter pain medications aren't providing relief, consider adding massage therapy to your regimen.
You prefer a holistic approach
For those hesitant about surgical intervention or heavy medications, massage can be a natural, noninvasive method of relief.
Your symptoms are limiting your movements
If sciatica is limiting your movement or daily activities, massage might help in restoring some of your mobility.
Remember, sciatica is a symptom, not a condition. It’s essential to pinpoint the root cause, whether it’s a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or something else.
Your provider at Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists give you an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment recommendations to address your unique needs, which may include:
- Strengthening and stretching
- Heat and cold therapies
- Massage therapy
- Selective nerve root block
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Different epidural steroid injections
Put an end to your sciatica with the help of Interventional Pain and Regenerative Medicine Specialists in Northern Virginia. Schedule a consultation online or over the phone today.