sciatic muscle relief - How to Use Massage Techniques for Sciatica Pain Relief
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How to Use Massage Techniques for Sciatica Pain Relief

Persons suffering from sciatica seek pain relief in different ways. In some cases, where patients are suffering from acute pain, medications can provide relief. In extreme cases, epidural injections and even surgery may be suggested. Even after all these treatments, for long term relief from sciatica pain, people do turn to sciatic stretches as also look for various massage techniques for sciatica.


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Imagine the surprise a woman must feel while dealing with the physical symptoms and discomforts of pregnancy, to suddenly develop severe back pain. This is not the usual low back pain that is often experienced during pregnancy; it is sciatica. This sharp, shooting pain usually starts in the buttocks and radiates down the back or side of the thigh to the calf and possibly the heel. There may be paralyzing numbness, in addition to the pain, which can be severe enough to limit mobility.

Sometimes even one form of exercise is good enough to get rid of the pain. However, finding that right exercise and doing it regularly to get rid of the pain depends on the exact cause of sciatica. Your sciatica may be due to herniated disc or it may be due to piriformis syndrome that occurs due to the contraction of piriformis muscle in the area around the hips. You can stretch these muscles slowly to reduce contraction, loosen the tight muscles and reduce pressure on sciatic nerve.

Most physicians avoid prescribing medications for pregnant patients suffering from sciatica but there are several steps that can be taken to relieve or decrease the discomfort. This includes:

"We are aimed at Redefining Ayurveda by propagating the ancient traditions of Ayurveda to the modern world, and practicing the Genuine, Shastroktha & Purest form of AYURVEDA from the past 9 years. Today, we are known for conceptualising ayurvedic cures to diseases like sciatica, slip disc, arthritis, spondilitis, herniated disc, degenerative disc etc. which never had a solution other than surgery. For my work in the field of ayurveda I was awarded KRRUSHI RATNA AWARD, AYURVEDA TAPASWI AWARD, VAIDYA RATNA AWARD." Says Dr. Kranthi Vardhan Chief Physician & Managing Director, The Kerala Ayurvedic Care, 3-6-101/1, st no: 19, basheerbagh, Hyderabad-29. For details contact Cell: 98666 66055, 92461 66636 & 66101140 on all days from 8am to 8pm strictly with a prior appointment.

Majority of these patients give a history of lifting heavy weights on their head or back, adopting improper spinal postures while sitting or bending forward, riding two wheelers on bumpy roads, female patients standing for a longer time in kitchens - these all contribute to the unbearable & excruciating pain called Sciatica.

In addition, these helpful habits may decrease the chances of developing sciatica: ??? Avoid hours of sitting slumped at a computer or standing with a baby on one hip. Both can contribute to lower back pain.

Usually, the kind of massage you get will depend on the exact cause of your sciatic pain. So, before you start on a massage therapy, meet an expert who will understand your condition better and advise you on what massage techniques will suit you best. Massage therapy usually starts by hands-on assessment of the lower back area and buttock area. The main source of pain is usually the lower back muscles. The therapist will massage the lower back muscles as well as the hip rotators to relax them and bring relief from the pain. The Piriformis muscles are also concentrated on by slowly starting along the sacrum edge. The pressure and technique is adjusted depending on the person and how well he is responding to the massage. At times, such deep massaging is not required and just gentle vibrations on the sacrum and buttock also prove very effective.

??? Williams Exercises have been developed specifically for use during pregnancy. They may temporarily relieve sciatica pain as they help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, the back and abdomen.

There are exercises which target these areas to relieve pain. In case of substantial sciatica pain, doctors only recommend exercises that are mild in nature and do not cause discomfort. Lying prone, trying to touch the chest with both knees and pelvic tilt are the most common exercises that are suggested at this stage. You can lie on your stomach with a pillow for supporting you hips. Pelvic tilt requires that you lie down on your back, bend your knees to contract the abdominal muscles.

Exercise plays a leading role in treating sciatica. There are many sciatica exercises. These exercises are one the best ways of treating sciatica. They specifically target the muscles in lower back, thighs and abdomen area. Though doctors advise bed rest in case of acute sciatica pain, the muscles are still weak and this again brings back pain if physically demanding activities are performed.

??? Maintain proper posture and try to stand straight. ??? Wear flat shoes or ones with a very low heel. Avoid shoes that throw your weight backwards.

The most common causes are Lumbar herniated disc, Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, Degenerative disc disease, Aging, Osteoporosis, Spondilitis, Pelvic Infections, Tumors, Diabetic neuropathies etc.

Dietary Regimen: Pulses, beans, and fried foods should be prohibited. Curds and other sour substances should be avoided. Saffron, in small quantities, should be mixed with milk and given to the patient to drink. Life style Regimen: Gentle exercise of the leg is advised. Exposure to damp and cold should be avoided. Swimming in warm water is a good exercise for legs. The patient should use a hard bed and wear a lumbo-sacral belt. Yogic exercises like Halasana, Shalabhasana, and Bhujangasana may be undertaken after pain has subsided to prevent recurrence of sciatica. Internal Medications: include many types of Ayurvedic preparations like Thailams, Grithams, Gutika, Pills, Lehyams, Churnams, Asavaaristams & Kashayas are prescribed by a qualified Doctor after a thorough examination of the patient.

??? Massage to reduce muscle tension. Some experts believe that tightness in the gluteus and psosas muscles contribute to sciatic pain. Treatment once or twice a week can help relieve stress on weight-bearing joints.

Types Of Sciatica Exercises Sciatica exercises are divided into three categories. Though their main purpose is to relieve pain, each category targets a specific aspect of reducing sciatic nerve pressure so that the pain can be reduced. The exercise which stretch the muscles are called stretching exercises. Exercises which stabilize and strengthen muscles are called stabilizing and strengthening exercises. The third category of exercises called general conditioning exercises. These exercises are stretching hamstrings, stretching of lower back, and making the core muscles strong. These exercises specifically target muscles in the torso, abdomen and back. An exercise regimen that combines the exercises from these three categories is very effective in reducing sciatica pain and in preventing it from recurring.

 
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It is important that the patient and therapist share an open and healthy relationship as a therapist will have to modify his technique depending on how the patient is responding. The patient has to be comfortable with the therapist and stay in a relaxed state of mind during session to allow for the full benefits of the massage. They have to be constantly communicating with each other especially during massage sessions so that the therapist understands if the patient is finding the massage beneficial, if so, what area is it helping and how effective is it. This is true specially, at key points, like in the lower back areas where the therapist may prompt the patient to inform him of how he or she feels. With constant feedback, the therapist may adjust his style as also the technique to better benefit the patient.

As the pregnancy develops, the abdominal tendons and ligaments become looser to prepare for childbirth. The backs of some women become quite unstable and prone to injury. Medical evaluation should always be sought. In some cases, sciatic pain is due to pressure on the nerve that is caused by damage to the disc between the vertebrae of the spine. This creates inflammation and pain and requires specific treatment.

??? Bedrest may be necessary at times. ??? See your physician if the pain becomes unmanageable. Sciatica is unique to a pregnancy and may gradually disappear on its own. Just because you had sciatica in one pregnancy does not mean it will appear in a subsequent one.

It has been found that for many people, even those with chronic sciatica, massage techniques have provided significant and long-lasting relief. It has to be noted that for healing effects and long-term relief, these massage techniques have to be performed properly and regularly.

Sciatica can occur at any time in a normal pregnancy but it is most common during the second and third trimester, when the baby is larger and carried lower in the abdomen. Known as Pregnancy-Related Sciatica, it is caused by the pressure of the baby on the sciatic nerve. This is the largest nerve in the body, about the diameter of a finger. Its fibers branch off the spinal cord at the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebra (L4, L5) and the first few segments of the sacrum.

??? When getting out of bed, try rolling onto your side first, letting the weight of your feet and legs dangling over the edge of the bed, pull your body into a sitting position. This puts less stress on the lower back, helping you to avoid triggering a painful muscle spasm.

There are alternative forms of sciatica exercises too like Yoga. Yoga has many postures that can be used to provide relief from sciatica pain. All these yogic postures keep the muscles flexible and strengthen them which lead to faster healing.

SCIATICA, Gridhrasi in Ayurveda, is a Vata roga, characterized by Sharp Shocking pain radiating from the Hip unto Thigh, Calf or the Toes in one or both the Legs. Numbness, Weakness, Tingling sensation & Discomfort along the path of the Sciatic Nerve are the results of Compression, Irritation & Inflammation of the Sciatic Nerve.

In the later & complicated stages of Sciatica, the gait of the affected person resembles that of an Eagle's walk & the inflamed nerve appears like Eagle's beak, hence the term Gridhrasi.

??? Try to avoid significant weight gain. ??? Try sleeping on a firm mattress, lying on one side. A pillow rolled up under the knees may be helpful.

??? Moist heat alternated with ice packs ??? Chiropractic treatments may be helpful. Be sure to select a practitioner experienced in treating prenatal patients.

External Therapies: includes the famous Panchakarma & Rejuvenation therapies. Abhyangam, Nadi Swedam, Elakizhi, Pizhichil, Kati vasthi, Matra vasthi and other Ayurvedic procedures are performed accordingly for a period of 7/14/21/28 days thus treating the underlying cause of the disease without any side effects.

Exercises are one of the most frequently used forms of sciatica treatment. They help a great deal in strengthening the muscles in the affected areas. However, it is very important to choose the correct type of sciatica exercises based on the underlying cause of sciatica in individual cases. It is always good to exercise with care and not to exercise when the pain is acute. Otherwise you will end up aggravating your pain.

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About the Author:

Paul G Miller is a Ft Lauderdale chiropractic therapist who has worked with individuals with back pain problems for seven years.
If you would like to receive a free weekly newsletter on back pain relief visit www.usspinecare.com and also to get more in-depth information.

??? Swimming and walking are excellent exercises if not contra-indicated by the physician. ??? Avoid walking on an incline as this can cause joint irritation and lead to problems.

Benefits Of Sciatica Exercises These specifically targeted exercise work because they work on the muscles that are crucial for supporting the back and reducing the pressure that affects sciatic nerve. These exercises lead to increased blood circulation. This results in healthy and supple spine and increased supply of oxygen and other vital nutrients to spine.

Ayurveda believes that Sciatica/Gridhrasi is caused by the aggravation of vayu. Sometimes the vitiation of kapha along with vata brings on the attack. At times constipation precipitates or aggravates an attack of sciatica. Ayurveda prescribes the perfect prescription for Gridhrasi. It includes:

There may be many reasons for sciatic pain - it could be caused by some irritation in the 5 nerve points leading to the sciatic nerve, irritation or compression in the sciatic nerve itself or because of some tightening in the vicinity of the Piriformis muscle. Irrespective of the cause, it has been found that massage therapy helps all these conditions. Massage therapy helps in relaxing muscles and improving ones' posture. This also relieves the pressure on the various nerve points as well as the sciatic nerve. Depending on how acute the pain is as also what stage of treatment one is, there are different massage techniques that one can try.


Always consult your doctor before you start on any form of exercise.

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