The sciatic nerve is the largest in the body and travels from the lower back all the way to the feet. It has a critical role in maintaining a connection between the spinal cord and parts of the lower extremities. Most problems associated with it – such as sciatica – are triggered by pressure on the muscle around the lower back.
Sensations include pains, tingling, numbing and shooting around the lower back. The more you ignore the pain, the more severe it becomes. It starts in the lower back and can travel through the buttocks and reach the feet as well. It usually affects one leg only, yet it may also affect both of them. Treatments are quite diversified and usually natural. Reflexology for sciatica is among the most innovative therapies.
Reflexology for sciatica
Reflexology for sciatica will help relieve some of the symptoms associated with this affection. There are more techniques out there and they may cover different parts of the body. While the sciatic nerve does not travel through arms and hands, it looks like various procedures around the thumb and wrist may reduce the nerve compression around the spine, relaxing the sciatic nerve and ameliorating pains.
However, most specialists will recommend reflexology treatments in the feet. The treatment has been proven to reduce pains. But then, it will not heal sciatica. You need to make some lifestyle changes and prevent flareups as well. The good news is that reflexology can reduce the necessity of painkillers, which may have side effects.
On another note, it is worth noting that while a specialist doctor can provide excellent results with reflexology, the truth is you can perform such procedures yourself too – at home and not in a clinic. Sure, a doctor can show you how it is done, but you can then take this venture in the comfort of your home. Here is what you need to do for pain relief.
Locate the main pressure points
This is the first step when interested in reflexology for sciatica. Basically, you have to identify all the pressure points – the affected areas. To find the sciatic nerve, you will need to focus on the lower leg area. A doctor can help doing it right, as you need to figure out the pressure around legs, insides, heels and ankles.
While you can do it yourself too – the areas that hurt when you press on them, a doctor can show you precisely where they are.
Suggested articles: Effective Acupressure Points For Sciatic Pain
Use finger walking techniques for pressure
A therapist will normally start on the outer lateral part of the foot, so this is what you need to focus on too. The sciatic nerve goes through the leg under the knee. It passes through your heel and goes up the inner foot. Its location around the leg is what causes the excruciating pains that may often go down the inner or outer leg.
You will have to use your thumb and walk it around the actual nerve. Begin the treatment at the side of your foot – just above the ankle. Press little by little as you go through it and do it along the sciatic nerve. The walking finger technique is similar to a moving caterpillar. Work your way towards the heel in a slow manner. Once you get at the heel, replace the thumb with the index finger and do the same movement.
Even if one foot is affected, you should perform this therapy on both of them. Sciatica will usually affect one foot, but there are cases when it can affect both of them. You want to prevent it from happening, so focus on both of them, even if the other one feels alright and there is no pain involved. It is only a prevention technique.
Focus on the pain
It is perfectly normal to experience some painful sensations as you walk your fingers along the sciatic nerve. Those are the areas with extra pressure. This way, you will know precisely how much pressure to apply in order to be efficient, but without causing even more discomfort. The approach is fairly simple to understand. You need to take it easy where you can find tension – sometimes, stop there and hold the contact.
Extend your therapy
Reflexology for sciatica is not all about the feet. You can extend the areas of the treatment for better results. For example, some specialist doctors will also focus on the lymphatic nerve. The nerve is in the dorsal area of your foot, around the ankle. The idea is to ensure everything around the sciatic nerve is safe and healthy – more issues around the nerve will cause even more problems in the long run.
If you do go to a therapist for reflexology, you will also notice that an expert may also target the inner side of the affected foot too. The lower back reflex is in that area. A bit of traction massage on the ankle will also help, as it can reduce the tension on your extremities. Plus, many massages end with a solar plexus hold.
The solar plexus hold is a good way to end your reflexology therapy. The movement begins under the foot ball. Press the thumb lightly and move it towards the middle part of your sole without losing contact. As you get closer to the middle part of the sole, the pressure should gradually increase. Perform this move for both feet.
Bottom line, reflexology for sciatica will work wonders in the long run. While many patients simply head to their doctors or therapists for such treatments, you can perform them at home as well. Obviously, it would take a bit more work and you may not be as efficient as a doctor. But if you do it right, you will save some money and get some relief whenever you need it. It is important to know that some movements may actually increase the pain, rather than ameliorate it. This is why a doctor could be a better choice. Plus, reflexology is referred to as a complementary treatment, so it pays off to ask your doctor for advice upfront.
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