Sciatica is pain, tingling, numbness, and/or weakness along the course of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve emerges through deep muscles on the back of the hip, and runs down along the back of the thigh. It splits at the back of the knee. One branch continues down the back of the calf, another goes around the outside of the leg to the top of the foot and toes.
Sciatica can be caused by a tight piriformis muscle entrapping the sciatic nerve. Nerve entrapment (abnormal pressure on a nerve from a tight muscle) doesn’t lead to nerve damage.
People with sciatica usually have their pelvis in a distorted position; one hip is higher than the other, one hip more forward than the other. This postural distortion places the piriformis muscle in one hip in a shortened position, so it becomes tighter.
CranioSacral Therapy corrects the assymetrical posture.
NeuroMuscular Massage releases the tense muscles.
Tension in the internal organs (which some people can sense as knots in their gut) and adhesions can create tension in the hip muscles, leading to sciatica.
Visceral Massage releases the tense organs, helping the sciatica.
Sciatica can also be caused by a lumbar (lower portion of spine) disc compressing the sciatic nerve. The disc may be bulging, but intact; or it may be ruptured, with some of the nucleus pulposus (inner cushioning material) leaking out and irritating the nerve. Nerve compression (abnormal pressure on a nerve from a bone or disc) can lead to nerve damage if it goes on long enough.
Lumbar disc rupture is what medical doctors usually think of first, because it’s something they can treat with surgery. But a ruptured disc is the cause in only a small number of the cases of sciatica. If you don’t need surgery, (and even if you do) you can probably benefit from having your postural alignment corrected.
Why do discs bulge and/or rupture in the first place? Because the spine is twisted and side‑bent, placing uneven pressures on the discs.
Research shows that there is a greater chance of a disc rupture if you have atherosclerotic (blocked) arteries leading to the lumbar region.
Sometimes people can have the exact same symptoms, but the sciatic nerve is not involved. This pseudo‑sciatica is caused by trigger points in the hip muscles or ligaments.
NeuroMuscular Massage releases the trigger points, relieving the pseudo‑sciatica.