Sciatica Flare-Up

If you have had a sciatica flare-up, no one needs to tell you how terrible it can be! Sometimes it can be so bad that it’s hard to function! It’s hard to walk, hard to stand and especially hard to sit. The amount of pain can sometimes just dominate your whole day! The pain can be just about the only thing you can think of! Other times, it’s not too bad – but still it’s something you have to deal with.

Sciatica flare-up comes when the sciatic nerve gets “impinged” from: sitting, overuse of the muscles in the glute area or, unfortunately, from the root of the nerve. Luckily, most flare-ups do not come because of sciatic nerve root problems. Nerve root problems are where the nerve 1st comes out of the spine before it gets to the tissues that it supplies with feeling [or the ability to function]. Let’s get into the details!

Sciatic Nerve Anatomy

The sciatic nerve comes out of the spine in the low back area. It actually comes out of several places in the spine and then joins together to form 1 nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body.

After it “exits” the spine, it moves downward through the glute area [the buttock area] on both sides of your body. As it does, it passes through 1 particular area where it can get “trapped.” Trapped means it gets tied up but it also gets compressed [squeezed]. This is the most common reason/area for a sciatica flare-up. But, luckily, getting compressed in this location can be successfully treated. [see below]

What Happens When the Sciatic Nerve Get Trapped?

Besides a sciatica flare-up, the consequence of a trapped/compressed nerve is that the nerve doesn’t function as well as normal. It’s like when you’re in your garden watering with the hose and suddenly a car drives onto the hose and the water stops flowing. Well, when a nerve gets compressed, it doesn’t function normally and usually hurts!

What does that mean? It means that you can experience several symptoms: PAIN, stiffness, tightness in your glute area, pain in the back of your leg, tension in the back of your knee, pain in the back of your lower leg, pain in the heel of your of your foot and tension in the bottom of your foot. If this pain, tightness or tension needs to be addressed, here’s what you can do:

You can contact me and we can discuss what you can do about the problem. If the problem is pretty bad, call me and we can talk about scheduling a treatment for you ASAP! 831-818-6916
Read “The Kind of Massage I do.

Where Can Sciatica Flare-Up Be Felt?

A sciatica flare-up is felt in several-to-many places unfortunately. Probably the most common is in the glute area [the buttock]. There, it can feel like a dull pain or it could be more intense – possibly excruciating enough that it’s hard to sit down!

But sciatica pain can also be felt in the back of the leg, down to and past the back of the knee, into the calf muscle and even into the bottom of the foot. And, the worst part is that is can be felt in ANY of those locations but not in any of the others! So, how do you figure all this out? You can get in touch with an experienced massage therapist who has experience with this exact problem!

How to find such a practitioner? You’d have to contact someone who does bodywork that’s therapeutic. I’ve worked on plenty of people with this EXACT complication. Visit my website to learn more about my services Read “The Kind of Massage I do.”

Is the Pain from the Sciatic Nerve or . . . Something Else?

Most often when a sciatica flare-up happens, it’s not actually because of the sciatic nerve. THAT’S THE GOOD NEWS!! When the sciatic nerve is the cause of your pain, it’s an issue involving the nerve root close to the spine. To treat that, it might mean surgery to be effective – talk with your healthcare provider!
BUT, a more likely cause of your pain is what’s called Piriformis Syndrome. The piriformis is a muscle in the glute area and it’s sooo close to the sciatic nerve that it can affect the nerve’s ability to function properly. This almost always causes pain. The muscle can be affectively treated by therapeutic bodywork. I have many clients who have benefited!

You can usually treat a mild case of sciatica flare-up with a couple of sessions with me – that’s what people usually do! You can also use a combination of heat, ice, over-the-counter pain medication [if your primary healthcare provider suggests], as well as stretching and strengthening exercises. For more severe pain, we can ask your doctor for her/his recommendations. Read about Piriformis Syndrome