Is A Massage Good For Sciatic Pain? Benefits For Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common thing for many people in the world. In fact, the WHO estimated that almost 60% of people experience low back pain.

This pain is caused by tightness related to a specific nerve, the sciatic nerve.

If you are experiencing moderate or severe pain in your back, you are in luck as there are a number of treatments to help reduce pain, particularly massage therapy.

Today, we will discuss how a massage can help with your sciatic pain and different methods you can incorporate into your life to stop lower back pain. Keep reading along!

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition that results in back pain and pain down the leg. 

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, and it runs from the lower back through the buttock and down the leg. When this nerve is irritated or compressed, it can cause pain, tingling, and numbness in the back, buttock, and leg.

The most common causes of sciatica are compression of the nerve root by a herniated disc or bone spur, Piriformis Syndrome (a condition caused by tightness in the Piriformis muscle which squeezes or pinches the sciatic nerve), lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal which puts pressure on the nerves), and pregnancy.

Who Can Get Sciatica

Inactive Lifestyle

To be honest, everyone is at risk of sciatica. As you age, there is a natural wear and tear that happens on your body and causes the breakdown of bones, muscle, and ligaments.

Although anyone can get sciatica, it is more common in adults over age 50. It can also occur in younger people who are obese or have jobs that require them to sit for long periods of time.

On the bright side, these injuries don’t last a long time, and heal quickly with some rest and treatment.

However, there are some conditions that can increase your risk of getting sciatica:

  • Intense workouts or activities including heavy lifting for a job, sport or workout.
  • Jobs or activities that require you to sit for long periods of time can cause nerves around your muscles to become stiff.
  • Extra body weight can put extra pressure on your spine and back muscles.
  • Diabetes increases risk for nerve damage, including the sciatic nerve.
  • Smoking damages spinal tissue and bones.
  • Later stages of pregnancy, certain hormones are released that loosen ligaments.
  • Effort of carrying the baby during pregnancy can also stress the spine and back muscles.

How To Treat Nerve Pain For Sciatica

If you have moderate to light sciatic nerve pain you can treat it at home. Here are some self-care remedies to treat sciatica when you start to experience pain:

#1. Apply Cold and Heat To Pain

When you apply heat to your muscles, they are able to relax. Applying cold will stop swelling and further pain.

To treat nerve pain, apply ice or a cold pack to the targeted area for 20 minutes and then apply heat for 20 minutes. Keep switching until the pain decreases or goes away.

#2. Take OTC Medication

To treat acute sciatic pain, take over the counter anti-inflammatory medicine or pain relievers. This will help give you pain relief and allow you to be mobile.

#3. Get A Massage For Sciatica

A common cause of sciatic nerve pain is muscle tightness. So, physical treatment like getting a massage or using massage chairs can get rid of the pain and help you move around.

Also, learning different muscle stretches can help relax tight muscles. Talk to a masseuse or physical therapist for the best stretches for back pain.

How Can A Massage Treat Sciatic Nerve Pain?

In general, massage therapy is great to treat muscle pain where they are particularly good at relieving sciatic nerve pain

There are a few ways that a therapeutic massage can help relieve sciatic nerve pain. 

First, massage therapy can help to relax the muscles around the nerves, which can help to reduce the amount of pressure on the nerves. 

Second, massage therapy can improve blood flow to the area, which can also help to reduce pressure on the nerves. 

Finally, massage therapy can release endorphins, which are pain-relieving chemicals that can help to reduce the overall pain you’re experiencing.

Types of Massage for Sciatica

Types of Massages

There are a number of massage treatments out there that can help your body in different ways. Here are different types of massage treatments that can help with sciatica:

Deep Tissue Massage

A deep tissue massage therapy can be extremely helpful in treating sciatica. The massage technique involves using slow, deep movements to reach the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. 

This type of massage can help to release tension and knots that may be contributing to the pain associated with sciatica. In addition, it can also help to increase blood circulation and promote healing in the affected area.

Deep tissue massages are typically not painful, although some people may experience some discomfort during the treatment. If you do experience any pain, it should dissipate within a day or so. 

If you have persistent pain after your massage, please consult your healthcare provider.

Hot Stone Massage

A hot stone massage can help to improve circulation and reduce inflammation, both of which are known to contribute to sciatica pain. Additionally, the heat from the stones can help to relieve muscle tension and promote relaxation.

The benefits of a hot stone massage may include:

  • Relief from pain and stiffness
  • Improved circulation
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved joint mobility
  • Enhanced relaxation

Swedish Massage

The gentle, long strokes of Swedish massage help to ease the tension in the connective tissues, muscles, and nerves around the sciatic nerve. 

This can help to improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation and pain. In turn, this can help to speed up healing and improve mobility.

Swedish massage is also known for its relaxing and stress-relieving effects. It can help to temporarily relieve sciatica pain and promote a sense of calm and well-being.

Neuromuscular Massage

A neuromuscular massage helps with sciatica by relieving tension in the piriformis muscle. This, in turn, reduces pressure on the sciatic nerve and provides relief from the pain and discomfort associated with sciatica.

A neuromuscular massage can also help improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation, both of which can contribute to the relief of sciatica symptoms. 

In addition, a neuromuscular massage can help strengthen weakened muscles and promote healing. As such, it can be an effective treatment for chronic sciatica.

Myofascial Release

A myofascial massage helps to improve the function of the fascia, a thin, web-like membrane that surrounds and supports muscles, organs, and other tissues. 

When the fascia is constricted or restricted due to injury, inflammation, or surgery, it can cause pain and impair movement. A myofascial massage can help to release the tension in the fascia and restore movement and function.

Massaging myofascial tissues has been found to be beneficial for treating conditions such as sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, and chronic pain. It can help to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, improve range of motion, and promote healing.

Do It Yourself Physical Therapy For Sciatica

Back Pain Home Remedies

The easiest way to treat sciatic pain is through an at home do it yourself massage. Here are methods to relieve your pain without going to a massage therapist:

Tennis Ball Massage

For this method, you want to roll tennis balls over your lower back or your lower thigh. 

In order to do this easily, take two tennis balls and place them in a small sock or a small plastic bag. 

Then lay down and slide the tennis balls underneath your back or thigh. Finally, move side to side slowly so that you can loosen your muscles.

Ball and Chair Massage

With this massage, you will want to roll a tennis ball across your back.

Take one tennis ball and sit on a straight-back chair. While sitting, slide the ball between your back and backrest. Then, move up and down to roll the ball across the target area.

Sitting Spinal Stretch

For this remedy, sit on the ground with both of your legs stretched out. Take your right leg and cross it over your left leg, keeping your right leg arched.

While in this position, turn your upper body to the right until your left arm is behind your right leg. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds.

Repeat this with your left side for another 10 seconds.

Home Massage Therapy For Sciatica

If you are experiencing chronic sciatic nerve pain, there are ways to get pain relief at home. Here are a couple ways to get a home massage without seeing massage therapists:

Massage Chairs

Massage chairs are amazing for sitting down and receiving a massage on your lower back or upper thigh areas. With a massage chair you can customize programs to your body and desired intensity to maximize your full body massage.

There is a range of massage chairs on the market today where the cheapest massage chairs give you basic vibrations while the best massage chairs can give you heat therapy, zero-gravity recline, and other stretching programs.

If you want to take care of your body from the comfort of your home, then a massage chair is the best way to go.

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Massage Guns

As a more portable option, massage guns are able to soothe tense muscles and relieve pain anywhere on your body.

These devices are less expensive compared to constant trips to your massage therapist and are travel friendly.

But, massage guns do not have the same level of sophistication like massage chairs when it comes to personalization or heated therapy.

Putting It All Together

Your sciatica nerve is a long nerve that runs through your muscles from your lower back to your legs. 

Tight muscles or tense muscles can cause pain in your lower back and is known as sciatica. Unfortunately, anyone can get sciatica where it is primarily caused by an inactive or stressed lifestyle.

To treat sciatica you can take OTC medications or get massage therapy via licensed massage therapists or a massage chair.

Treating this pain early on is important to improve your sense of wellbeing and increase your mobility.

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Director of Wellness


Fact Checked by our Director of Wellness Hi! My name is Yoshi! We understand that investing in massage devices is a big deal. So my team and I devote our time to thoroughly researching every single topic and product we write about. We hope you find our reviews helpful and informative.

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