can massage help with sciatica pain

How Massage Can Help with Sciatica Pain

Sciatica pain is a common, uncomfortable condition that is estimated to affect around 40% of people at some point in their life.

While there are a number of different reasons why sciatica pain can start, the sensation of burning pain in the lower back, legs, buttock, or feet is a result of something pressing against or rubbing up against the sciatica nerve.

Massage therapy is often recommended as part of a balanced treatment plan for those suffering from sciatica nerve pain. In this article, we’ll take a look at the way that massage chairs can help to treat sciatica pain with specific insights on types of massage treatment that can be used to alleviate sciatica nerve pain.

What is Sciatica pain?

Before we dive into it, let’s start by understanding what sciatica pain actually is and what it feels like if you are experiencing sciatica related pain.

For those that have suffered from sciatica pain, or from those that are looking for an answer to what they are feeling, you’ll know that sciatica pain is characterised by a radiating or sharp pain along the sciatic nerve which travels from your lower back and down one or both legs.

This pain which travels along the sciatica nerve can be the root cause of pain, numbness or weakness that you feel in your back, buttocks, knee, hips, legs, and even all the way down to your feet.

Sciatica pain is categorised into one of two main groups. Whichever of these groups that you fall into, the pain that you experience is going to be similar.

True sciatica: This refers to an injury or condition that directly impacts the sciatica nerve, for example when a herniated disc or bone spur in the spine presses on the nerve.

Sciatica-like conditions: Sciatica-like pain refers to ailments that may feel like an injury to the sciatica nerve but occur for other reasons related to the sciatica nerve or the surrounding nerves that gather together to form it.

If you’ve been diagnosed with sciatica issues, then you might not know which of these two groups that you fall into. In most cases, healthcare professionals categorise all sciatica pain under the same umbrella because the treatment is similar.  

What Causes Sciatica pain?

Sciatica pain occurs when there is pressure on the sciatica nerve. For most people, this pressure will be felt in the form of a burning sensation or even a feeling of an ‘electric shock’ which radiates down the leg or the side where the pain is felt.

Sciatica pain can be caused by a range of different conditions. Some of the most common conditions which can cause sciatica pain, include:

  • Herniated disks
  • Foraminal stenosis
  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Stiffness due to reduced movement 
  • Sporting or lifestyle injury
  • Tumours or cysts
  • Pregnancy

Sciatica pain can become more noticeable when exercising, sneezing, coughing, or even when you’re simply trying to go about your daily life walking or climbing into bed. Sciatica pain can cause a feeling of weakness to the affected area, as well as a tingling sensation which can lead to a feeling of numbness in the area.

What are the treatment options for sciatica pain?

When it comes to treating sciatica pain, the treatment route that is prescribed by your healthcare professional will be dependent on the severity of your symptoms. In general, the treatment options for sciatica pain can be categorised into one of three different categories:

Self-treatment options

Self-treatment options for sciatica pain is often the first route for those suffering from mild sciatica pain issues. Treatment includes hot and cold therapy, over the counter anti-inflammatory medications, massage and active stretching exercises prescribed by a healthcare professional.

Conservative treatment options

Conservative treatment options for sciatica pain can range from self-massage, massage therapy, and physical therapy to prescription medications and alternative therapies such as acupuncture. Before embarking on any of these self-treatment options for sciatica pain, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition.

Surgery treatment options

For those that have been suffering with acute sciatica pain, your healthcare professional may recommend surgery as a treatment option to provide long-term pain relief. The surgery options to provide relief for sciatica pain are discectomy and laminectomy. Each of these is a serious procedure that requires patients to consider the long-term implications ahead of treatment. Surgery is never a first treatment option for sciatica pain and is usually only recommended as a last resource for those suffering with debilitating sciatica pain over an extended period.

How can a massage chair help with sciatica pain?

Massage has been proven to provide a range of physical and mental benefits for those that are suffering from sciatica nerve pain. A high quality massage chair can work on muscles, nerves and ligaments to provide relief and relax the areas of pain.

One of the most common issues reported by those suffering from ongoing sciatica pain is the inflammation and swelling that they experience as a result of the condition. Both massage therapy and the use of a massage chair can help to promote blood circulation which can effectively reduce inflammation by providing more oxygen to the affected cells. With increased blood flow comes increased recovery.

Both massage chairs and massage therapy can reduce muscle tension and provide relief to the legs, feet, lower back, hips, and buttock areas affected by sciatica pain. For those dealing with ongoing sciatica pain, having an at-home massage chair for consistent treatment can be a very effective way to provide sustained relief from the symptoms of sciatica nerve damage and promote faster recovery.  

The ability to use an in-home massage chair on a daily basis (or even multiple times per day) provides quicker recovery results but most importantly, allows for instant relief of your pain in the comfort and convenience of your own home, whenever you need it (even the middle of the night!). 

Massage chairs such as the OHCO M8 Neo Massage Chair and the Positive Posture Sport Massage Chair have in-built heat in the actual massage rollers to assist with getting deeper into the problem areas and reducing inflammation as well as pain symptoms associated with sciatica.  Japanese Made Massage Chairs such as the Fujiiryoki JP3000 Medical Massage chair even have a specific “Sciatica Massage” programme to specifically target this area and help relieve this condition efficiently and effectively so that you can get on with your day to day life!
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