Archive for November 2010

Can massage help sciatic pain?

Can massage help sciatic pain?

Firstly you need to understand something of why you are suffering sciatic pain. Sciatica is caused when the sciatic nerve becomes irritated. There are a number of reasons why this can happen. A common one is caused by the piriformis pressing on the sciatic nerve.  In simple terms the job of the piriformis is to keep your hip neatly in place in its socket. If you run, walk a lot, spend hours sitting or driving your car, play golf, are a woman over 40, stand with your weight on one hip, are currently pregnant Рthe list goes on, then you are stressing your piriformis, it will become inflamed and press on your sciatic nerve causing sciatic pain, hence sciatica.

Equally problems with your lower back will irritate the sciatic nerve. This type of sciatica will often be accompanied by lower back pain. Properly known as radiculopathy, sciatica following the path of a spinal nerve root may be caused by damage to a disc.Therefore it is important to consult your doctor first because a doctor will be able to tell by examining you whether the sciatica is due to a herniated disk or piriformis syndrome. For quick reference,  sciatica caused by pressure from the piriformis is often worse when you are sitting down but less of a problem when you are standing or moving around but sciatica which is caused by herniation of a disc is eased by sitting down.

So, can massage help sciatic pain? If your sciatica is due to problems with your piriformis then definitely. A huge proprtion of the patients I treat at my massage practice in Ely Cambs have piriformis syndrome. It generally presents as pain in the buttock and may extend as far as the ankle, I would first check for a facet lock in your spine and if I suspect this may be the cause of your sciatic pain then I would refer you to one of the team of Osteopaths I work with at Ely Complementary Health Centre in order that it might be corrected. Once we are happy that all is fine with your spinal mobility then I can commence with the soft tissue work which will help to ease your symptoms and get you back to top form.

Is Massage an Effective Treatment for Muscle Pain?

Is Massage an Effective  Treatment for Muscle Pain?

What is massage and is it really an effective in the treatment of muscle pain and spasm? Manual therapy in the form of massage and stretching of the musculature has been practised for hundreds of years. In his writings, the Greek physician Hippocrates stated ‘rubbing can bind a joint that is too loose or loosen a joint that is too rigid’.

Neither muscles which are over tight and inflexible or conversely, lack tone and are therefore too lax will work efficiently.Massage skilfully applied can have the effect of mildly increasing muscle tone. Massage will never be a replacement for exercise but it increases the blood flow to the muscles bringing fresh oxygen and nutrients via the arterial circulation. These are exchanged for waste products released from the muscles during massage which are then removed by the venous circulation.The very act of massaging the muscle causes the muscle to react which helps to improve the muscle tone at the same time.

Massage has been widely used in the treatment of muscle pain since the beginning of the last century and is still the most effective way to remove ‘trigger points’-areas of knotty fibres in the muscle which may cause extreme pain, referred pain or sometimes just a reduction in the working efficiency of the muscle.A skilful therapist will be able to elongate the contractured sarcomeres within the muscle helping to restore to normal length and function.

There are many massage techniques which can be used to release tired contracted muscles.The majority of these massage techniques should not be particularly painful. It is important for massage to be applied slowly. When I am working on my patients at my practice in Ely I use a pressure release technique to remove trigger points. It requires considerable manual skill. Identifying and treating trigger points requires a sensitive touch. The massage therapist has to be able to find the trigger point by palpation and apply pressure to it within the patients comfort zone, identifying the point at which it releases thus reducing the muscle pain.

Trigger points are very often implicated in muscle pain though most people will never have heard of them. If you are suffering from muscle pain it may well be that you have active trigger points, especially if you perform repetitive actions during the course of your day.If you live near to Ely it would be well worth coming in to have a course of treatment with me to alleviate your pain.Once your muscle pain has been treated with massage it is certainly beneficial to have regular massage. Massage is as important an adjunct to a healthy lifestyle as eating sensibly,exercising regularly, stretching your muscles, hydrating properly and getting plenty of sleep. A healthy body needs to relax and de-stress, touch has been shown to be beneficial,massage is soothing and relaxing, it increases blood flow flushes out toxins and smooths out the muscle fibres and it has been shown to reduce blood pressure for a significant number of hours afterwards. In brief it is good for you.