Ouch! That pain runs down my leg!

Posted on August 30th, 2012 by Shari´ Parks

I see many clients that complain of a pain that starts in the buttocks and can radiate as far as the sole of the foot. They will complain the pain starts as early as before they start the day; often awaking them in the middle of the night to limiting a daily activity. In the next breathe the term sciatic nerve is uttered.

The main nerve traveling down the leg is the sciatic nerve. Pain associated with the sciatic nerve usually originates higher along the spinal cord around the sacrum (butt bone) when nerve roots become compressed or damaged from narrowing of the vertebral column or from a slipped disk. The inflammation of the sciatic nerve can have many causes including a slipped disc, pinched and from improper posture. Symptoms can include tingling, numbness, or pain; which impacts to the buttocks, legs and feet.

Now that we know what the sciatic nerve is and where it’s located, what can you do about it?

Massage therapy will relax the muscles that surround the affected sciatic nerve. Tense muscles may press up against or squeeze the nerve, and massage therapy will counteract this reaction. It helps circulation in the lower back, and if you suffer from chronic sciatic discomfort, massage is an effective prevention.

There are also many things you can do at home to support your healing.

Heat and ice:
An ice pack may reduce inflammation that is associated with sciatic nerve pain. Heat helps to increase the blood flow to this area. Alternating both cold and heat can give positive results in reducing pain and inflammation.

Stretching/Yoga can offer good support for the back. Certain stretches and yoga poses for the sciatica can help release the tightness and relax the muscles. (check out various yoga poses at www.yogisticks.blogspot.com)

Support and Posture:
Sitting on hard or uneven surfaces can aggravate the sciatic nerve therefore, making sure there is good support and posture can help. If you sit at a desk, having a chair that tilts a bit and shifts your weight can reduce stress on the lower back creating less pressure and pain. A firm yet cushioning mattress can help. Sleeping with side bent knees can also help align posture while you are sleeping.

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