Applying pressure to various trigger points in the lower back and buttocks has been found to greatly relieve sciatica pain. Acupressure and Trigger Point Therapy are alternative remedies you can perform to ease the pain caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD describes sciatica as the pain resulting from the irritation of the sciatic nerve. The pain is usually felt from the lower back down to the knee as the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body, stretches from the lumbar spinal cord through the buttocks. Pain and other symptoms in the buttocks and backs of the legs are collectively called sciatica. Sciatica is a description, not a diagnosis, although it's usually assumed to result from compression of the sciatic nerve, according to "The Trigger Point Workbook."
Sciatica is typically caused by the inflammation of the sciatic nerve because of tumors, muscles, infections, internal bleeding and adjacent bones. The most common cause is a herniated disc. Symptoms include tingling in the lower back; a burning, numbing sensation; and difficulty walking.
Michael Reed Gash, founder of the Acupressure Institute in Berkeley, Calif., states that acupressure can ease sciatic pain by pressing on the appropriate acupressure points. His self-care method suggests finding the center of the depression at the side of the buttocks and pressing both sides hard at the same time. Count to 15 while maintaining pressure and then release. According to CNN Health, despite the difficulty in determining objective studies, massage therapy has been suggested as a way of easing sciatica pain in the lower back by pressing certain trigger points.
Jennifer Dubowsky, a licensed acupuncturist from Chicago, makes the case for acupuncture to treat sciatica. She says that there are many local pressure points on the back and the acupuncturist will palpate the body to find the most sensitive spots and needle them. Citing a Swedish hospital study, doctors concluded that acupuncture provided long-term pain relief in patients suffering from chronic lower-back pain.
MotherNature.com warns that what seems like sciatic pain can in fact be something else, including a herniated disk, arthritis or irritable bowel syndrome. It is important to consult a doctor if pain persists or becomes unbearable, or if loss of bladder or bowel control occurs.
- The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-treatment Guide for Pain Relief; Clair Davies, David G. Simons, Amber Davies; 2004
- Acupressure's Potent Points: a Guide to Self-Care for Common Ailments; Michael Reed Gach; 1990
- The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies II; Sid Kirchheimer; 1993