The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your body - it originates in the lower back and travels all the way down to the feet. Impingement around the root of the nerve in the sacrum can lead to sharp burning pain or deep throbbing pain along the length, or a segment, of the nerve.
According to SpineHealth.com massage can help reduce pressure and inflammation around the nerve, thus reducing pain. In addition massages encourage the release of good hormones, like serotonin and endorphins, which act as natural painkillers.
Nerve pain often "refers" aka is felt in many places, but the cause of the pain is not necessarily coming from where the pain is sharpest. A good sciatica pain relief massage will include work on all the muscle which affect the hips.
These muscles include:
- The quadrates lumborum, located in the lower back
- The piriformis, located in gluteus region and upper leg
- The psoas, a long, thin muscle along the lumbar (or lower) spine
- The hamstring muscles, located in the thighs
- The quadratus femoris, located on the posterior side of the hip joint
- The glutes, a group of 4 muscles that make up the buttocks
Don't expect a chilled-out spa massage if you have sciatica. In this instance, trigger-point therapy is best, says Jeff Smoot, vice president of the American Massage Therapy Association. The sciatic nerve sits underneath a muscle called the piriformis, which is located beneath the glutes. "When the piriformis muscle gets tight, it pinches the sciatic nerve, causing tingling and numbness down into the leg," says Smoot.