Massage for sciatica is a wonderful complementary care practice, but is not likely to provide a cure, or even lasting relief, from the misery of chronic sciatic radiculopathy. Sciatica is a condition often thought of as being easier to manage than to effectively cure. Massage is one of many symptomatic treatment modalities used to make life with sciatic nerve pain more bearable, although the treatment will not generally resolve the underlying reasons for the pain.
This article will focus on the many sciatica-specific and general benefits of massage therapy. However, we will also discuss why massage is just a symptom-based care practice and how it should be utilized for best results.
Types of Massage for Sciatica
There are so many various methods of massage therapy. It is crucial for each patient using this modality to find a style which suits their tastes, as well as effectively treats their individualized symptomatic expression. It is also vital to find a therapist who understands your preferences and will custom-tailor a program to fit your unique pain profile.
Generally speaking, all varieties of massage which are used to combat sciatica will include general full body work, but will ultimately concentrate on the affected lower back, buttocks, leg and feet areas. Massage can be soft and relaxing or it can be vigorous and almost painful. Different massage techniques have specific goals in mind, with the style of the therapist also being a major factor in the experience and the results.
Take your time to try out a variety of styles before making up your mind as to which is best for you. Many therapists are proficient in more than one technique, so do not feel embarrassed to ask for advice on which massage style will best help to alleviate your pain.
Massage Therapy Effectiveness
Massage is a treatment which generally must be maintained in order to continue managing pain. If you stop getting massages, the cumulative effects of the previous sessions are statistically not likely to last for long. Massage may or may not help your sciatica symptoms, but it is certainly not going to cure any underlying issues in the spine which might be causing your pain.
Massage will not heal a herniated disc or resolve spinal osteoarthritis. Massage will also not provide anything more than temporary relief from the ultra common incidence of psychosomatic sciatica.
Massage may be ideally suited for various pseudo-sciatica conditions caused be soft tissue pathologies, such as piriformis syndrome and lower body muscle imbalances. Patients with these theorized sources of symptoms often report longer lasting relief and some even find real cures via massage therapy.
Massage for Sciatica Results
I love a good massage and consider it one of the most beautiful arts in the world. The experience is a joy which can not be described with mere words alone. However, even with my fondness for the practice, I do not generally recommend massage as an effective treatment for any type of chronic back pain. The one exception to this rule involves patients with long-term muscular symptoms enacted by a purely anatomical source. For these individuals, massage is perhaps the very best therapy option available. For all others, I advise spending your time, effort and resources looking for a real cure, instead of another symptomatic therapy session.
If you understand the limits of massage and simply want to reduce your pain temporarily, or are looking for a nonpharmaceutical form of pain management to help wean you off prescription drugs, then massage is a terrific choice to consider.