Before we get into how can myofascial release helps sciatica, let's quickly go over what myofascial release is and its benefits.
What is Myofascial Release?
A myofascial release is a practical approach to managing pain and discomfort. Don't expect a gentle massage with aromatherapy and flute music. Instead, myofascial release can be an intense experience.
During a session, a physical therapist, chiropractor or even a masseuse will gently massage, knead and stretch the muscles and fascia to create knots. This technique also involves applying pressure to tense or painful areas to release them.
Pressure is applied with hands, elbows, or massage tools such as foam rollers or balls. You may be sore afterward, but as the pain subsides, you will feel more relaxed than before.
How Can Myofascial Release Help?
Manual pressure and targeted stretching exercises used in myofascial release therapy release a limited range of motion, which indirectly leads to less pain.
Many studies have shown that massage, chiropractic manipulation, and similar manual therapies work just as well as other treatments for back pain. However, few studies have specifically tested myofascial release therapy, in part because the exact elements of myofascial release therapy vary from therapist to therapist.
If you have been told that myofascial release may be helpful for low back pain, consult a therapist trained in this technique.
How Can Myofascial Release Help Sciatica?
The sciatic nerve is the largest in the human body. This nerve is formed where the five lumbar nerves converge and extend from the hips to the lower legs. When this important nerve is compressed, inflamed, or irritated, it causes pain in the lower back and legs, which is called sciatica.
Sciatica is not a medical condition in itself, but a symptom of a condition that affects the sciatic nerve. Pain in the back, hips, and legs is the most common symptom. However, tingling, numbness, and weakness are also symptoms of sciatic nerve damage. Sciatica is often the result of underlying conditions, such as:
- Bulging or herniated disc in the spine
- Spinal stenosis
- Traumatic injury to the spine or pelvis.
- Spinal tumors.
Physical therapy is a popular and effective way to treat sciatica. A physical therapist uses several proven methods to relieve sciatica pain. One of the most used methods is myofascial release therapy.
What Is Myofascial Release & Why Does It Help Sciatica?
Myofascial release is a technique that a physical therapist can use to treat many sources of pain caused by damage to the nervous system. It involves a therapist using manual techniques to release areas of tension and pain in the body. Here are three reasons why a myofascial release is an effective tool for treating sciatica:
1. Pain Relief: Tight tissue can make sciatica much worse. Myofascial Release – The techniques help relieve pain by removing tension from surrounding tissue and encouraging the tissue to stretch and relax. This reduces pressure on the sciatic nerve.
2. Increase Blood Circulation: Myofascial release helps improve blood circulation in the affected area by opening blood vessels. This helps reduce swelling and inflammation, which can help with sciatic nerve pain.
3. Improve range of motion: Sciatica can often be caused by an injury or other condition that prevents your joints from enjoying their full range of motion. This can compress or irritate the nerves and cause sciatica. By releasing tight muscles around joints, myofascial release helps you regain your full range of motion.
Want to learn more about myofascial release?
Check out these posts written by Dr. Uzair Ahmad, Doctorate of Physiotherapy and others:
- What are the different types of myofascial releases?
- How To Do Myofascial Release On Yourself
- How Often To Do Myofascial Release
- How Do I Know I Need Myofascial Release?
- How To Use Lacrosse Ball For Myofascial Release
Learn much more in-depth techniques and knowledge about your myofascia in the Obscure Fitness Playbook (440+ pages).
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