The sciatic nerve is the largest body nerve, that stretches from the lower back, down through the buttock, the highs, to one or both legs. If irritated or compressed, it causes sciatica pain, which can be an extremely painful and debilitating condition.
Actually, sciatic pain is a symptom of another problem involving this nerve, like a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease or a narrowing of your spinal canal.
The pain is felt along the sciatic nerve and can be accompanied by numbness or weakness in these areas, or a tingling sensation.
Experience has shown that sciatica is best treated in a natural way, and among the most effective ways to alleviate it is to try the tennis ball massage.
This therapy is based on the principles of massage, acupressure, and reflexology and relieves the sore muscles, reduces tension, alleviates pain, and boosts the range of motion.
The tennis ball actually targets the piriformis muscle, located near the sciatic nerve, which can push the sciatic nerve against the tendons beneath it, leading to the familiar buttock and leg pain. It treats the trigger points, boosts blood circulation in the area, lowers the tension in the muscles, and boosts mobility.
However, note that targeting the piriformis muscle is one of the steps to relieving sciatica pain, as it can be caused by various factors, like a herniated disk or a narrowing of the spinal canal.
Here is how to perform this massage:
-- You can use one or more tennis balls. Sit or lie on the floor, and place the tennis ball under the painful muscles. Apply light pressure on the area, and shift the weight onto the ball or balls.
Try to detect any areas of increased tenderness, as they are the trigger points. Compress each of the painful spots for about 15-20 seconds, and gently roll the ball back and forth.
-- In order not to worsen the condition, apply gentle pressure, and stop if you feel an intense or sharp pain.
Moreover, studies have shown that sciatica pain and its accompanying symptoms can also be alleviated by various other alternative therapies. Among the most successful are yoga, gentle exercises, stretching, and the application of hot and cold packs.
Additionally, a 2009 study that involved 90 sciatica patients showed that acupuncture, a needle-based Chinese therapy helped drastically lessen sciatica symptoms.
Researchers also recommend chiropractic care as an effective treatment and maintain that chiropractic adjustments may help improve spinal function and, in turn, alleviate sciatica pain.
In a lot of cases, sciatica can be treated with self-care and requires no medical attention. The pain and accompanying symptoms might even resolve on their own within a few weeks, but physical therapy can promote recovery and lower the risk of future injuries to the sciatic nerve.
However, if the pain lasts longer than four weeks or the condition aggravates, visit your physician and ask for further treatment.