Massage for Sciatica

Massage for Sciatica

Can Massage Help with Sciatica?

  • Benefits
  • Types
  • Finding a therapist
  • Takeaway

 What’s the best type of massage for sciatica?

There are several types of massage therapy. There isn’t much evidence that one type is more beneficial for sciatica pain than another, so choosing one comes down to personal preference. Here’s a look at some of the most common types.

Deep tissue massage

Deep tissue massage is an aggressive form of massage that uses slow strokes and deep finger pressure to release tension from your muscles and connective tissues.

A 2014 clinical study found that a 30-minute session of deep tissue massage five days a week over two weeks was found to effectively treat low back pain, including sciatica.

Swedish massage

Swedish massage doesn’t use as much pressure as deep tissue massage. Instead, flowing, kneading movements are used to stimulate nerve endings in your connective tissue and increase blood flow. It also helps to release general tension and promote relaxation.

Neuromuscular massage

Neuromuscular massage uses advanced massage techniques that combine deep tissue pressure and friction to release contracted muscles and relieve tension.

Myofascial release

Myofascial release is a technique used to relieve pain that stems from your myofascial tissues — the tough membrane that surrounds and supports your muscles.

Trigger points, which are stiff, immovable areas within the myofascial tissues, cause pain and stiffness. Focused pressure and stretching on the trigger points help to reduce pain and stiffness.

Hot stone massage

Hot stone massage is used to promote relaxation and ease tense muscles. Heated stones are placed on specific parts of your body and may be held by the massage therapist while they use Swedish massage techniques.

How do I find a massage therapist? 

If you’d like to give massage for sciatica a try, it’s important to choose a qualified massage therapist who has experience in treating sciatica symptoms.

To find a massage therapist, you can:

  • ask your doctor for a referral
  • ask friends and family for a recommendation
  • use the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork’s database

Here are some things to consider when choosing a massage therapist:

  • Your personal preference. Does the gender of the massage therapist matter to you? Some people are more comfortable with therapists of the same gender.
  • Location. Choose a massage therapist whose practice is close by or easy to get to.
  • Hours. You want to make sure that they offer appointments during hours that work with your schedule.
  • Cost. Ask how much they charge per session and about any cost-saving incentives, such as a sliding-scale option.
  • Credentials. Make sure the professional you choose is licensed to practice massage therapy in your state. Most states regulate the massage therapy profession. Be sure to ask about their credentials.
  • Type of massage. Some massage therapists are trained in several types of massage while others focus one or two types. Ask what types of massage they’re most familiar with.
  • Experience treating sciatica. Talk to your massage therapist about your sciatica and ask if they have experience in treating sciatic pain.

Before you first session, make sure to tell them about any other health conditions you have. You may also want to check in with your health insurance provider. Some cover massage therapy, especially for an underlying condition.

The bottom line

Massage for sciatica won’t cure the underlying cause of your pain, but it can help to temporarily relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Speak to your doctor about your symptoms before starting massage therapy to make sure it’s safe for you.

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