Understanding SCIATICA causes, symptoms, and massage treatments

Understanding sciatica causes, symptoms, and how massage can help with ongoing pain relief. Notice the red flags and discover self care tips to help relieve symptoms of sciatica.
Sciatica Pain and massage Treatment

What is Sciatica?

How do you know if you have sciatica? Sciatica is nerve pain that travels down the leg going through the buttock, there can be low back pain present too. Often a symptom of an underlying problem, sciatica relief is possible with regular massage treatment.

True sciatica is nerve entrapment in the low back, located at the point where the sciatic nerve originates and branches out to legs.

With treatment Sciatica associated symptoms usually improve within 4-6 weeks, but can sometimes take longer.

Causes of Sciatica and Buttock pain

  • Herniated disc (most common cause) is where the nucleus pulposus (soft tissue) between vertebrae pushes out and presses on the sciatic nerve root. However studies show that disc herniations are often asymptomatic and other factors such as inflammation are present thus causing pain.

  • Piriformis syndrome is where the sciatic nerve is impinged under this muscle, and in a small percentage (about 1%) of the population the sciatic nerve passes through the muscle itself.

  • Spinal stenosis

  • Spondylolisthesis

  • Injury or trauma (fall on buttock) 

  • Muscle Trigger Points are “a hyperirritable locus within a taut band of skeletal muscle, located in the muscular tissue and/or its associated fascia.”, as defined by Dr. Jane Travell. These ‘muscle knots’ especially in Gluteus muscles (buttock) can cause lower back pain and mimic sciatica symptoms down the leg.

Trigger Points patterns related to sciatica and buttock pain.

Symptoms of Sciatica

  • Constant pain in one side of the leg or buttock
  • Pain worsens when sitting
  • Burning, tingling, or searing pain in the leg
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot
  • A sharp pain which might affect your ability to walk or to stand up

CAUTION: Red flags and when to seek urgent care for Sciatica

  • Do you have sciatica on both sides at the same time and is it getting worse?
  • Are you experiencing weakness or numbness in both legs that’s severe or getting worse?
  • Do you have numbness around or under your genitals, or around your bottom (anus)?
  • Are you finding it hard to start peeing, or maybe you cannot pee or cannot control when you pee? 
  • Do you not notice when you need to poo or cannot control when you poo?
  • Are any of these issues not normal for you?

These could be symptoms of a serious back problem called Cauda Equina and you will require emergency hospital admission (7) as soon as possible.

Can Clinical massage help with Sciatica?

Only 8-10% of back related problems are thought to be truly nerve related. 

Pain from sensitive muscles and joints of the back and hip can also cause leg pain especially in Gluteus muscles. 

These sensitive muscle ‘knots’ can be released with Trigger point therapy and myofascial release. Massage therapy for low back pain is often successful for symptom management.

The JING Method is an Advanced Clinical Massage therapy that combines and applies a range of advanced techniques (including trigger point therapy and myofascial release) to achieve a specific outcome, whether that be a reduction in pain, increased range of movement, improved posture or relaxation. This type of massage is tailored to you.

Do you need help with buttock of sciatica like pain?

Book Free online consultation now or give us a call to chat with us about your condition.

Selfcare for Sciatica

  • Selfcare trigger point therapy
  • Keep active when in pain but keep within a free range of movement
  • Regular stretching and mobility exercises
  • Avoid activity and movements which aggravate the pain.

Have you been suffering from back/buttock pain, or sciatica?

Drop me a message and we can have a chat about how I can help you to be pain-free again. I’m here to help.

Don’t forget, you can also find a library of FREE self care stretching and mobility videos HERE.  

  1. www.PainScience.com. 2021. A Guide to Sciatica Treatment for Patients. [online] Available at: <https://www.painscience.com/articles/sciatica.php> [Accessed 27 November 2021].

  2. nhs.uk. 2021. Sciatica. [online] Available at: <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sciatica/> [

  3. Stafford MA, Peng P, Hill DA. Sciatica: a review of history, epidemiology, pathogenesis, and the role of epidural steroid injection in management. Br J Anaesth. 2007 Oct;99(4):461-73. doi: 10.1093/bja/aem238. Epub 2007 Aug 17. PMID: 17704089.

  4. Finando, D. and Finando, S., 2005. Trigger Point Therapy for Myofascial Pain. Rochester: Inner Traditions International, Limited.

  5. Skorupska, E., Rychlik, M., Pawelec, W. et al. Intensive short-term vasodilation effect in the pain area of sciatica patients – case study. BMC Res Notes 7, 620 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/1756-0500-7-620

  6. Werner, R. (2019). A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology: Critical Thinking and Practical Application (7th ed.). Books of Discovery.

  7. nhs.uk. 2022. Lumbar decompression surgery – When it’s used. [online] Available at: <https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lumbar-decompression-surgery/why-its-done/

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