The term sciatica defines the symptoms of the leg pain. It may also involve numbness, weakness, or tingling. It originates in the lower back and moves through the buttock and down the sciatic nerve in the back of each leg.
Sciatica is not a medical diagnosis of or in itself. Sciatica is a symptom of some underlying medical conditions. It is caused by some common lower back problems such as degenerative disc disease, lumbar herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis. In other cases, pregnant women may experience sciatica if the fetus position results to a pinched nerve.
Treatment for sciatica
Physical therapy exercises that incorporate a combination of stretching, strengthening and aerobic conditioning are key components of sciatica treatment plan.
Patients who engage in a regular program of gentle exercises such as tennis ball therapy, they quickly recover from sciatica pain.
Tennis ball therapy
Tennis ball therapy to relieve sciatica pain includes the benefits of acupressure, reflexology, and massage. Use of tennis ball method may help to soothe sore muscles and relieve muscle tension. The focus of the tennis ball is on the piriformis muscle positioned close to the sciatic nerve.
During the massage, the tennis ball presses and treats trigger points in your piriformis muscle. It also improves mobility, reduces the muscle rigidity and tension, and increases the blood circulation to the area.
The weight of the patient’s body on the small tennis ball tolerates it to directly identify specific sections of the muscle. The pressing into the pain point causes the muscle to relax and release. It may be slightly painful, but satisfying process. It is just the same way when one gets a shoulder massage and you wince since it hurts so good.
The best part about tennis ball therapy besides relieving the pain, it is easy, inexpensive and can be done from home.
How to use tennis ball massage?
Get one or two tennis balls and be ready for some relief. Follow the following simple steps using a tennis ball to massage sciatica pain:
- While lying down, place the tennis ball under the buttocks where the pain is being experienced.
- Raise the same leg up such that the other leg, back, and arms are supporting you on the floor.
- Start sliding the glute over the tennis ball steadily and slowly.
- When you feel a pain point, pause for some seconds. Allow the pain to release and continue rolling.
You should know that if you feel a pain point, this pain should not be very strong. When it feels unbearable and strong, you can adjust the ball. You can also add the balls to avoid the direct pressure from one ball.
You need to compress every trigger point for about 10 to 15 seconds before proceeding to the next level. Another alternative is to just roll around gently backward and forward over the area experiencing the pain.
Before you use the tennis ball therapy, always consult with the doctor. When you get cleared by your physical therapist, the tennis ball therapy may be very beneficial in helping to heal sciatic pain.
Author Bio: Nima Sheikholeslami MD. is a medical doctor and entrepreneur. He co-founded PositiveMed, an independent and popular resource for health and wellness in 3 different languages: English, Spanish and Russian. He’s a vegetarian and an animal rights activist. He lives in Miami, Florida with his wife and two dogs. You can learn more about his work here.