Mainly affecting the lower torso and legs, sciatica is caused by a variety of structural and muscular conditions that result in an impingement of the sciatic nerve.
Over the course of your life, vertebrae and soft tissues can suffer numerous insults and traumas. The vulnerable sciatic nerve may be impinged or "pinched" by a vertebrae, irritating spinal nerves. This can lead to excruciating pain along all or part of the sciatic nerve (originating in the lower back, gluteals, hip, thigh, leg and foot.)
For most, sciatica is a minor discomfort that becomes more severe with each recurring attack. Simple movements such as lifting or sneezing can bring on attacks. Sciatica sufferers describe the pain they experience as sudden, "shooting", "hot", "sharp", or "tingling" pain. They may also experience intermittent "cold numbness" or a buzzing feeling" along the nerve pathway.
In the acute stage, pain is usually constant, but may ease temporarily - returning so suddenly that it can "take your breath away." In winter, cold weather may play a part in intensifying the sciatic pain. Muscles that are already tightened in response to misaligned vertebrae (such as the piriformis) can suddenly go into spasm, impinging the sciatic nerve.
A herniated disk (also known as a slipped disk) can be the origin of sciatic pain. However, the most common cause of sciatica is a pinched spinal nerve caught between misaligned vertebrae.
The sciatic nerve is the primary link between the brain, the legs, and the feet. This nerve is the cause of sciatica. About the diameter of a felt pen in some places, it is the body's longest and largest nerve.
Muscular sciatica is often overlooked as the cause of mysterious back pain. Not as well knows as vertebral sciatica, it is just as painful and often more complicated to treat.
Muscular sciatica is a result of a deep muscle spasm in the buttocks. This impinges the sciatic nerve near the hip causing pain and weakness. While vertebral sciatic can strike any time of the day, attacks of muscular sciatica more often occur in the early morning. Sufferers may notice the pain decreasing during the course of the day as a result of routine use of the muscles.
If ignored, the dull pain of early morning sciatica can develop into chronic sharp or debilitating pain. Complications include sensitivity or swelling of the buttocks, legs or feet.
Early intervention based on awareness of the early symptoms of sciatica may avert debilitating pain. Taking immediate and appropriate action can alleviate pain episodes and prevent the condition from worsening.
Massage and Sciatic
An ideal way to address symptoms of sciatica is through the use of therapeutic massage. Our experienced massage therapists will work on all the muscles that support the area of the back surrounding and affected by the sciatic nerve.
Massage therapy helps remove waste materials from muscles. Benefits include "breaking up" muscle spasms and increasing the flow of oxygen to the muscles. Massage also lengthens and relaxes muscle groups, allowing them to rest. Range of motion and flexibility are restored.
Massage therapy is an ideal supplement to other treatment approaches and may help prevent problems that lead to or aggravate sciatica.