Sports Massage for Sciatica

patient receiving lower back massage

Few things are better for aches and pains than a good massage. In terms of the different types of massage available, sports massage is one of the most well-rounded, appealing to both athletes and non-athletes alike. Sports massages are particularly useful in treating the limbs and extremities, making it ideal for combating sciatica pain. But to understand precisely why sports massage is so effective against sciatic nerve pain, we need to understand a bit about sciatica as a condition and the techniques used in sports massage therapy. 

 

What Is Sciatic Nerve Pain? 

The sciatic nerve is a nerve that begins in the lower back and runs down the leg. When the sciatic nerve is pinched or otherwise aggravated, it can cause a radiating pain or numbness, leaving your leg feeling like it is on pins and needles. It is this pain and numbness in which sports massage is most effective. 

 

What Techniques Are Used in Sports Massage?

 As a practice, sports massage therapy is named because it targets the soft tissues most easily strained by athletes, helping to loosen stiff muscles and relieve pain, such as the pain caused by sciatica. There are two different techniques used in a sports massage therapy session, each with another purpose. 

The initial technique, called effleurage, is a light touch that encourages the warming up of the muscles, making them easier to manipulate during the session. Depending on the pressure used in the effleurage at the beginning portion of the therapy session, blood and lymph fluid flow increase, helping to rid the muscles of any toxins that have built up. 

The second technique, called petrissage, is a firmer, squeezing touch that can help loosen knotted or spasming muscles, increasing the patient’s overall motion range. Sometimes, a quick rubbing of a particular spot, known as frictions, can help work out particularly knotted areas of tissue. 

The deeper, methodical stroking and squeezing of petrissage can help open up blood flow and the bodies’ lymphatic system, thereby removing toxins. As petrissage opens blood flow, it allows more reparative blood cells to reach an injury area, helping the patient look to use sports massage to recover from an injury, like a pinched nerve.

 

The Final Word 

With their varied approaches, sports massages make for the ideal treatment for aches and pains of all sorts, even of the pinched nerves that cause sciatic pain. In addition to working out the tissues, the massage can leave the patient feeling more relaxed and better overall. 

If the idea of a sports massage appeals to you, call your local massage parlor and ask if this is a service they offer. Occasionally, physical therapy practitioners may also have this as a service, or if they don’t, they would know of a place where you could get a sports massage.

Understanding the Crunching Sounds in Knees

It happens one day without warning. You go to get out of bed, and you’re greeted with two unpleasant sensations at the same time: Pain in your knees and an unpleasant crunching sound. The easiest answer may be to joke about the inherent risks of getting older, but there are genuine reasons for that terrible crunching sound and how those conditions can be treated. 

Let’s look at some of the potential causes of pain and popping in the knees and how a doctor may help. 

What’s the Problem?

Crepitus may read like the name of some Scandinavian mythological monster, but it’s the medical term for that crackling sound you hear in the knee. Crepitus may indicate benign conditions, but sometimes, it can be a signal of something more serious. 

  • Gas: Tiny gas bubbles can form around the knee joint, and those bubbles can pop when the knee bends. The good news is, this is normal and painless. 
  • Tendons and Ligaments: The knee joint is surrounded by tendons and ligaments that sometimes stretch and snap back into place. This condition is not an uncommon occurrence but may occasionally hurt. 
  • Structural Differences: Not everyone’s knees are created equal. Some people have more or less or different cartilage or tissue around the knees, making them more prone to cracking or popping. 

These instances occur, more or less, naturally and don’t necessarily indicate any sort of severe underlying cause. But sometimes, there is a bigger problem linked to crepitus, such as: 

  • Injury: The snapping and cracking of crepitus can be a byproduct of an injury.  Such injuries include a tear in the meniscus, a piece of cartilage in the knee. If the meniscus is torn, the knee’s cartilage may move about and cause pain and crunching. 
  • Osteoarthritis: As you age, or as you place more stress on your knees, you become more prone to developing osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis in which the cartilage over the joint wears away, increasing the odds of inflammation, pain, and crunching of the knee. 

What’s the Solution? 

There are several ways that crepitus can be treated, some of which can be done at home. Still, you should always consult a medical professional first regarding any new or worsening sensations, particularly if the crunching noise you hear is accompanied by pain. 

  • Medication: A doctor may prescribe or recommend medication to help treat pain and inflammation that may come with crepitus. 
  • Heat or Cold Therapy: Placing either a heating pad or ice pack on the area may help with pain or swelling that may cause or complicate the crepitus. 
  • Extra support: A knee brace may lend stability to crunchy knees, making them less crunchy. 
  • Rest: If the crepitus is caused by an issue like arthritis or an injury, staying off your feet will help.

A Final Word 

Crepitus as a sensation, is often more of a nuisance than an actual problem. Still, it is essential to know as much about its potential causes as possible to be effectively treated.