Should I Treat Sciatica With Massage Treatment?

If you wonder whether massage treatment is the ultimate answer to sciatica, you might want to think again.

Massage sounds like one of the most obvious and popular treatments for sciatica. And let me be perfectly honest here, ofcourse it feels great to have someone work your muscles so you get some relief from your sciatic pains.

But does it last? And what does massage do for the cause of your sciatica in the first place?

Let me give one example from my own experience where massage helped me and how I used a massage therapist to help me isolate the exact location in my muscles that caused my sciatic pains, but once I knew the spot I did not need any more massage, here's what happened....

In the summer of 2011 I spent time on a missions trip with my wife and kids in Greece. Four of our kids went to sports camp and we helped out as temporary staff around the mission and looked after our youngest one. After sports camp we also helped pack more than 120.000 packages of bibles and literature that was later distributed in 800 villages on the peloponese, but I digress, let me get back to sciatica and massage...

On the sports camp staff was offered early morning water ski rides - at 06:00 hours that is. And because I have done quite a bit of water skiing when I was a lot younger, ofcourse I got up and joined the younger ones. Some of these kids were not even half my age, but hey, technique still beats untrained young kids.

Anyways, I got them to pull me out of the water on a mono ski, and I don't know if you ever tried that, but the technique requires you to stick one leg in the mono ski and when they start pulling, use your hanging leg as a sort of barefoot ski to create extra friction with the water in order to come out of the water as quick as possible.

To make a long story short, I had a great time once I was out of the water, but I had to pay a price for the brutal abuse of the gluteus muscle in my right buttock while trying to get out of the water. The boat just took too long to get me out of the water, too many kids on board and therefore it could not get up to speed quickly enough. Ofcourse the extra pounds since I waterskied many years ago did not help either. But I hung on for all I'm worth and managed to get out of the water, I managed allright, but my right buttock was shot...

And that is how I set myself up for a couple of lousy nights of sleep end even terrible limping for one day a week later...

I woke up next morning with a sore body, but ofcourse the next morning I joined the party again - it went every second early morning. And 2 days later I did it again, and then I had enough...

At night I could hardly lie on my right side and every time I tried, my buttock would protest with pains all the way down to my right foot. Looks like sciatica came to haunt me...

I tried to do some stretching but even that was too sore, then I hoped it would go by itself, but it did not go away by itself.

After 3 lousy nights of sleep I started to limp pretty bad during the days and I was not amused!...

...then my beautiful and lovely wife finely asked me why I still had to prove myself?... Silly question I thought, what's wrong with showing young kids how to properly waterski on a mono?...

Fortunately there was a physiotherapist on site whom I asked for some help and he gave me a good massage and helped me do my first stretches again.

Together we located the exact sore spots in my right buttock and man alive, when he touched those I just could not control my body from reacting very strongly, IT HURT! And applying pressure on these spots caused pains to shoot all the way down my leg, so I knew where the trouble was.

I kept good track of the exact sore spots because I knew I would need that information later.

After the first - and last! - massage session he told me I would need quite a few more sessions...

...ofcourse that was his perspective, which I did not share with him, and I soon proved him wrong...

I thanked him and went - still limping a bit - to the beach and collected some nice round pebbles - not many sandy beaches in Greece where I was...

Then I went back and found myself a tree that would take some leaning against it without trouble. I found a good one and placed the pebble against the sore spot in my buttock and then leaned the pebble into the tree and slowly forced the tree and the round pebble to massage the sore spot. And I can tell you that it hurt again!

Trick is to apply the right pressure, I always go for 7 or 8 on a pain scale of 1 to 10. If it hurts 10 on that scale I push to hard, if I hardly feel any pain, I do not push hard enough.

Couple of years back I had taken a course in triggerpoint therapy, and I developed a simple yet effective way to treat my own triggerpoints that caused my sciatic pains.

After one day of applying pressure to the sore spot for a number of times during the day, my limping disappeared and I could then move into some basic sciatic stretches I know to work great to further loosen the knots in the myofascial tissue that developed during my mono ski fun!
So here's my take on massage therapy & sciatica...

I would recommend it for anyone to help you locate the sore spots that are causing your troubles AND I would suggest you use the massage therapist to help you loosen things up just enough for you to do your first stretches again. Ofcourse I would also suggest you then find yourself a pebble and apply further massage to yourself, next to doing some regular stretches that work well in cases of sciatica.

If you do this, you use the massage therapy as a type of start engine to get your engine of self help and self healing going again.

Do this and you might be surprised how quickly your sciatic pains and symptoms might go.

And next time I will train my muscles a bit more before I go water skiing again. Maybe some P90X?

But that is a different story.

If you would like to know some good stretches that helped me get rid of sciatica and that are doing the same for thousands worldwide, then feel free to check the Back Pain GOOD BYE! program.