Backaches are very common ailments affecting nearly 80% of adults at one time or another in their lives. Backaches can stem from compressed or herniated disks in the spine, muscle strains and a combination of these. Often times, excessive weight (especially abdominal weight) and improper lifting are to blame.

Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome affect the sciatic nerve that begins at the sacrum and extends down both legs. In sciatica, the sciatic nerve is not being directly compressed, but the nerve roots at the base of the spine that connect with the sciatic nerve are being compressed. In piriformis syndrome, the piriformis muscle in the buttocks region is directly compressing the sciatic nerve.

In either case, the classic marker is shooting pain down one or both legs. Though surgery and drugs (anti-inflammatories and pain meds) are often used to treat back problems, there are other options. First, it is imperative that a person loses weight, strengthens abdominal muscles and learns to lift properly. This may be difficult, however, if pain is not relieved in another way.

This is where massage therapy for sciatica pain can enable a person to carry on with daily activities and begin the path towards weight loss and strengthening their body. Your massage therapist may begin by assessing the lower back and buttock area to see if the pain stems from compression in the lower back, sacral area or buttocks. They will then concentrate on the piriformis. At this point, the massage therapy will depend on your particular pain. Your therapist may use gentle vibrations or deep massage to relieve the pressure and pain.1

Your massage therapist can also give advice on exercises that you can do at home to relieve pain. For drug-free, surgery-free pain relief, contact a licensed massage therapist today!

1. Barrett C. Massage Therapy for Sciatica: How to Reduce Pain in the Sciatic Nerve