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  • Karen Stoner, LMT

About My Aches: Sciatica

About My Aches: Sciatica

What is it?

Sciatica is a general term for pain anywhere along the path of the sciatic nerve. It can also refer to radiating pain in the low back or anywhere along the back of the leg.

What does it feel like?

Burning or radiating pain in the back or along the back of the leg. The pain can range from sudden, sharp, or stabbing pain to a mild constant ache. In severe cases, it can cause weakness or loss of feeling in the leg or even bowel and bladder problems.

What causes it?

Sciatic pain can be caused by a nerve impingement (something trapping, or rubbing against the nerve) above where the pain is felt. Most commonly, it is caused by a herniated disc or bone spur in the low back, but can also be caused by tight muscles surrounding the nerve in the low back, hips, gluteals, or upper leg. It can develop over time as an overuse injury or be the result of an accident or lifting/moving the wrong way.

Can Massage help?

Massage can help when focused on the muscles of the low back, hips, and legs to soften tight muscles and allow the tightness surrounding the irritated nerve to settle down, therefore allowing the nerve pain to calm down. It can also be used to relax the stress and tightness in other parts of the body that are a result of the sciatic pain.

About My Aches: Sciatica

What can I do on my own?

A doctor should be consulted if the sciatic nerve pain is causing numbness or weakness in the leg. Most sciatic pain can be calmed with ice and over-the-counter pain medication as well as gentle stretches and exercises that strengthen the low back and core. Physical Therapy, chiropractic care, or acupuncture can also be helpful in relieving sciatic pain.

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