Your body has a sciatic nerve, which has five nerve roots originating from your lower spine. Sometimes, the sciatic nerve roots get pinched or compressed, creating pain and numbness that travels from your lower back to the buttock and down the leg to your feet — this pain symptom is known as sciatica.
Sciatica can affect your daily life making simple activities like standing, walking, and sitting difficult. The rehabilitation process involves both conservative pain management and surgical ones. If you’d like to try the traditional approach, massage can be a great option.
When you self-massage for sciatica trigger points, you can let go of stiff, immovable muscle tissue and reduce pain.
Sciatica Trigger Points Map
In a resting position, a trigger point is a contraction of muscle tissue known as a “knot”. If pressed, trigger points can cause pain locally in that area and distantly elsewhere – this is called referral pain.
You must mention the muscle name when describing trigger points, such as piriformis trigger points. Referral patterns of sciatica are usually caused by muscles close to the sciatic nerve.
Your muscles maintain good posture while you sit, run, exercise, and more. If your age, suffer from an injury or have a sedentary lifestyle, your muscles may become imbalanced, resulting in the misalignment of your body. This imbalance may result in:
- Changes the vertebrae alignment in the lower spine
- Narrow the spinal canal
- Affect the lumbar facet joints
- Tighten the muscles around the lower back and pelvis region
The sciatic nerve can be irritated by these things and cause pain.
Fortunately, massage can relieve pain by releasing trigger points. By gently massaging your sciatica trigger points, you can expedite the healing process.
How to Massage Sciatica Trigger Points?
Use a ball or massage tool to find trigger points and then apply pressure to relieve muscle tension. Apply direct pressure to a different tight area of the same muscle while deep breathing for 30-90 seconds.
Sciatica self-massage can be painful, but after the release, you feel good. While self-massaging, pain should be your litmus paper: if it doesn’t begin to subside after 30 seconds, move the tool to a different place. The intensity of pressure should be reduced if you feel a sharp pain after the release.
❗ If the pain persists, contact your doctor.
a. Piriformis Muscle
The piriformis is a small muscle located behind the hip joint. The sciatic nerve passes under this muscle. In addition, prolonged sitting can cause the piriformis muscle to tighten and trigger sciatica trigger points. The trigger points may irritate the sciatic nerve.
Pain in your lower back and deep within your buttocks can be caused by trigger points in your piriformis muscles. Even though the piriformis is located under the gluteus maximus muscle, you can still reach it with a massage therapy ball, foam roller, or lacrosse ball.
How to Massage with Foam Roller?
- As you sit on the foam roller, keep your legs straight and your feet flat on the ground; support your weight with your hands behind you.
- By crossing an ankle over your opposite knee, your body weight rests on the hip of the crossed leg.
- Move back and forth on the roller.
- Go on for like this up to 60 seconds until you feel your pain subside.
- Repeat it on the other side.
How to Massage with Ball?
The ball can put more pressure on your piriformis than the foam roller because of its smaller size, so it can be more effective than a foam roller.
- Sit on the ball under your hip.
- You can either sit straight on the ball or bend your leg with your foot against your opposite thigh.
- Push yourself down until you feel pain, then return to the starting point. Repeat on the same side until the pain decreases.
- Repeat this on the other side.
b. Gluteus Maximus
Your gluteus maximus is one of the strongest muscles in your body. The gluteus maximus muscle is located in the buttocks and is connected to the tailbone and other bones surrounding it. They assist in the movement of your hips and thighs while standing, sitting, and climbing.
The contraction in the gluteal muscles can occur with time due to:
- Continous sedentary lifestyle
- Postural distortion
- No stretching before exercise
These muscles are tighter and don’t function properly in the sciatica, resulting in muscle imbalance, sciatica pain, and spinal misalignment.
Different Types of Massages for Sciatica
Sciatica can be treated with several types of massages that target different parts of the body. Here are some common types of massages that are preferred for sciatica:
Deep Tissue Massage – Deep Tissue massage uses more pressure and is an aggressive form of massage. The typical features of this massage are:
- Use of slow strokes
- Deep finger pressure to release the tension
Expert suggests a five-day-a-week session over two weeks for 30 minutes can effectively treat sciatica and other back pains.
Swedish Massage – Swedish massage uses less pressure than deep tissue massage. With kneading and flowing movements, this type of massage increases blood flow and stimulates the nerve endings in the connective tissue.
Neuromuscular Massage – These massaging techniques release trigger points by using a combo of deep tissue pressure and friction.
Myofascial Release – Myofascial is the membrane that surrounds the muscles and supports them. This membrane has trigger points within its tissues and causes.
How does hydration help muscle knots?
Water prevents tightness of your muscle, ligaments, and tendons. It also keeps the cartilage soft and flexible.
What can happen if you leave a muscle knot?
If left untreated, the muscle knot will cause muscles to lose elasticity leading to postural stress that is hard to reverse.
Can a muscle knot resolve itself?
This condition is persistent and will not go away until you get some medical help to relax your muscles.
Why do you feel tight muscle after a massage?
It is normal to feel tight muscle or sore.
The Bottom Line
Massage can relieve sciatica pain and relax your body, but it cannot cure the underlying condition. Learn how to massage sciatica trigger points before trying self-massage.
Consult your doctor to identify your trigger points and ensure that massage therapy is safe for you.
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