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Massage For Sciatic Pain | How Muscles Can Cause & Alleviate Sciatica

Sciatic pain is a strange phenomenon. The root cause of sciatica is nerve compression - which causes the nerves running from the tailbone to the foot to activate and "feel" - but what causes nerve impingement in the first place? One potential source of nerve pain is muscle tension and trigger points. Here is what you can do about it.

Massage For Sciatic Pain

Sciatic Pain Pattern Referred By The Gluteus Minimus Muscle [1]

 

What Is Sciatic Pain?

ÔĽŅSciatica or Sciatic pain refers to the pattern of pain, numbness, or tingling shooting down the leg. Sciatic pain can be felt anywhere on the outside or back of the leg, occasionally all the way down to the foot.

 

Is Sciatic Pain Caused By Muscles?

It can be, it is impossible to know at a glance. However, assuming muscles are the source at first can be beneficial because treating muscular symptoms with massage are non-invasive, free or very low cost, and can be done right at home.

Piriformis Sciatic Pain Massage

Sciatic Pain Pattern Caused By The Piriformis Muscle [1]

 

Sciatic Pain Massage - Piriformis Nerve Compression

Sciatic Nerve Compression From The Piriformis Muscle [2]

 

Sciatic Pain Massage For Relief

As briefly touched on above, there are two predictable muscles that tend to compress the sciatic nerve when they become tight and ridden with trigger points. This can happen from performing a high impact activity that you are not conditioned for, or just sedentary lifestyle habits with low attention paid to stretching and strengthening.

Sciatic Pain Massage Muscle 1: Piriformis

The Piriformis muscle lies deep in the buttocks and is likely to compress the sciatic nerve when tight. There is actually a real medical term for this - Piriformis Syndrome - where the Piriformis muscle causes sciatic pain symptoms due to tension, knotting, and/or trigger points.

Sciatic Pain Massage Muscle 2: Gluteus Minimus

The Gluteus Minimus muscle is another deep buttock that can refer sciatic symptoms when tight. Gluteus Minimus trigger points can cause the pain pattern at the top of this page, radiating sciatic symptoms down the leg.

How To Use Massage For Sciatic Pain:

To use massage for sciatic pain, you want to make sure to target the Piriformis and Gluteus Minimus muscles directly. Just because the pain pattern is felt down the leg does NOT mean the source of the pain is not elsewhere [2].

To apply massage to the Piriformis and Gluteus Minimus, you can have a trained physio or massage therapist get in there with their hands. This can be costly and inconvenient (not there right when you need it), so we like to recommend an at-home deep tissue massage tool like QL Claw. QL Claw provides the most targeted, deepest massage directly to Piriformis and Gluteus Minimus above all else we have found. Check out the links on how to massage your sciatica away by releasing the Piriformis and Gluteus Minimus muscles below:

 

 

 

Beyond Sciatic Pain Massage

After the Piriformis and Gluteus Minimus are thoroughly massaged and the majority of sciatic symptoms are gone, it is very beneficial to stretch the muscles to lengthen their pressure on the sciatic nerve even more. The videos below have amazing Gluteus Minimus stretches and Piriformis stretches respectively:

 

  

Sources:

[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.

[2] Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.

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