This week I’m going to talk about how to self-treat “sciatica” or more accurately “pseudo-sciatica” using a lacrosse ball or Thera Cane. I often have clients come in with “sciatica” issues with a pain shooting down from the hip to the leg and even numbness in the leg. So what is sciatica? Sciatica is an inflammation of sciatic nerve that runs through the hip and down the side of the leg or the back of the leg. The common symptom is the radiating pain from the hip all the way to the leg. Medically speaking it is caused by a pinch of the nerve in the lower back by herniated discs or bone spurs which can be medically treated by a surgery as a last resort.
However, this pain that shoots down the leg may be caused simply by tight gluteal muscles, the muscles in the buttocks, specifically by the trigger points found in gluteus minimus. Let’s call this pseudo-sciatica because it’s not really sciatica but has the similar pain like the real sciatica and it makes it hard to get up from the chair or stand straight.
Trigger Points are the tight spots in muscles that are stuck in a contracted state and forgot to release. They are sore or painful to touch but they also cause pain elsewhere called referred pain. This is what I mean. In this case, the X’s are the trigger points in gluteus minimus and the red areas are the referred pain. When you loosen these trigger points the pain in the red area will be gone. These trigger points can be created from various reasons such as sitting crooked for a long time in front of the computer, TV, car, airplane, especially if you keep a wallet in your butt pocket, or from playing sports like tennis, walking, running, swimming, and cycling for a long period of time.
To treat the trigger points first find the hip bone. Then go down on the side of the hip to find the greater trochanter which is the big bump on the top of the thigh bone.
The gluteus minimus is located between these landmarks. It is the deepest layer of the gluteus muscles. You can also lean side to side and feel the muscles contracting as you lean to the target side.
Then put a lacrosse ball on the muscle and lean against the wall and roll it over the tight spot for 10 times which should take no more than 20 seconds. You don’t want to do it too long because it involves some pain and you don’t want to bruise the muscle. If you are working on the right side, stand on your left leg. Or almost lift your right foot to loosen the target muscle. When you massage the muscle should be relaxed and loose so you can dig deeper. As you saw this muscle gets contracted and tight when you put on your weight on this side. If you have a pain on the side of the leg, look for a painful spot more towards the side between the hip bone and thigh bone. If you have a pain in the back of the leg, look for a painful spot towards the center of the glutes under the hip bone. If lacrosse ball is too hard and painful, you can use a tennis ball.
You can also use Thera Cane if you have one. With Thera Cane put the ball on the tip on the gluteus minimus from behind, hold it with both hands in a comfortable position, lean to the other side, and press on the tight spot for 10 times. BTW if you don’t have Thera Cane it’s a great self-healing tool. I’ll put the link below.
Repeat this treatment three to six times a day every day to see the results. If you tend to sit in front of the computer for a long time and if that’s causing this problem it’s a good way to take a short break because it shouldn’t take more than 20 seconds. Remember only do it 10 times at a time.
Besides the daily self-treatment I highly recommend working with a massage therapist in your area who knows and believes in Trigger Point Therapy who can treat you and check if you are doing it right.
If you have a pain in your body and want to find out if Trigger Point Therapy can help, let me know and I will cover in the future videos. Holistically speaking if you have a myofascial pain I would avoid surgery as much as possible unless you’ve exhausted all the other holistic options and must have it done to treat the pain.
Thera Cane [easyazon_image align=”left” height=”73″ identifier=”B000PRMCJU” locale=”US” localize=”y” nw=”y” src=”https://www.couplesmassageorangecounty.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/31LyDjgHsOL.SL110.jpg” tag=”blissquamass-20″ width=”110″]
2-23-15 How to massage sciatica with lacross ball or Thera Cane http://bit.ly/mm-022315