You take a step and—yow! A searing pain shoots down the back of your thigh. Or maybe you simply twisted to look at something behind you or bent to pick something up. What doesn’t make sense is that the pain doesn’t appear to be in the same place that the motion occurred. You may be experiencing sciatic pain, also known as sciatic neuralgia or sciatic neuropathy, a condition that affects nearly half the population, typically starting as we reach middle age.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body, starting as a cluster of nerve cells in your lower back and then exiting through openings in the bones and muscles to continue it’s path along the back of your thigh, all the way down to your toes.
Muscle spasms or shifting bones (disk compression, for instance) can impinge the nerve causing inflammation, pain, and sometimes numbness in the affected leg. Where you experience the pain will depend on what part of the sciatic nerve is impinged on or inflamed. Sciatica will typically only affect one side of the body at a time.
Most commonly, sciatica pain is felt with greatest severity in the back of the upper leg, extending from the buttocks down the back of the thigh. But lower back pain, front of thigh pain, and even foot pain can also be an indication. Most sciatic pain resolves itself within a couple weeks as the inflammation subsides, but it can be incredibly disruptive and stressful in the meantime. Sciatic pain may also be just a symptom of something more ominous, like misalignment in bones and joints, or degenerative disks in the spine.
It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional, as there are many possible underlying causes for sciatic pain, some of them requiring medical treatment for long-term resolution. But if your doctor says it is safe, they will probably recommend some specific stretches and exercises to help alleviate the pain and discomfort now.
Avoid any exercise that may exacerbate your symptoms, like double leg lifts or certain weight lifting motions that put strain on the lower back. Motions that put extra pressure on the sciatic nerve will only increase inflammation and slow healing.
Gentle stretches for your spine and hamstrings will be beneficial, but go slow and never push through if you experience increased pain, numbness, or weakness. Stop immediately and consult your healthcare professional.
Professional massage is also an excellent way to manage sciatica pain. By relaxing tight muscles and improving circulation, a good massage therapist can help your body begin to heal itself, reducing inflammation and easing the pain, helping you get back to your life.
The massage therapists at Easy Cozy Wellness in Abbotsford, BC are well trained and experienced in therapeutic massage and reflexology, and they are ready to help you in your quest to find relief from sciatic pain. Call to book an appointment today.
Easy Cozy focus on Acupressure (Body) Massage and Reflexology (Foot) Massage which are good for both males and females within any age range.