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Is Massage or Chiropractic Better For Sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition of debilitating pain that occurs because of spinal discs or vertebrae exerting pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Due to injuries from accidents and wrong posture, vertebrae along the spine may fall out of alignment with each, thereby exerting pressure on the underlying sciatic nerve.

The result is some very severe pain around the lower back, buttocks and back of the thigh. The pain is usually so severe that normal mobility functions such as walking and sitting are impacted.

Due to scars, anesthesia and the many risks associated with invasive procedures like surgeries, sciatic patients are now turning to non-invasive treatments. 

Some of the most common non-invasive treatments for sciatica include massage and chiropractic care.

Woman Getting A Stress-Free Massage

Although very closely related, these two forms of modalities are different in terms of how they are performed and their use. This article explains which one between the two modalities is better for treating sciatica. 

Chiropractic Care for Sciatica

When treating sciatica, chiropractors usually apply various adjustment techniques to release pressure on the sciatic nerve. Such techniques may involve manipulating the spinal muscles by use of hands, a process known as adjustment. It may also involve the use of a traction device to bring the misaligned discs back in line. The process is performed with the patient lying on their back on a motorized bench while harness is used to direct force on target areas. As the discs are realigned, sciatic nerve is released and the pain goes away. Simply put, chiropractic therapy is relied upon in treating the underlying cause of sciatica, which involves realigning the spinal discs that exert pressure on the sciatic nerve. 

Massage for Sciatica

Massage on the other hand, involves the use of massage oils to manipulate areas that experience sciatic pain. Massage techniques such as kneading and stretching are relied upon in this form of treatment. Upon manipulation of sciatic muscles, circulation of blood and nutrient-rich materials is enhanced. The nutrients in the materials provides pain relief in sciatica patients. 

Comparison between the Two Treatments

Massage is only relied upon for treating pain symptoms associated with sciatica while chiropractic therapy provides a holistic approach to sciatica treatment. Massage aims to provide a temporary solution to sciatica while chiropractic care provides a permanent solution. Although the same therapist may perform them, some massage therapists lack the training to administer chiropractic adjustments. 

Massage is your go-to solution if your sciatica symptoms are because of tension and inflammation in muscles. If the symptoms are because of misalignment of the spinal discs, then chiropractic adjustment is needed to address your problem. Since it does not involve many complexities, massage therapy is a little cheaper than a chiropractic adjustment. 

Combining Massage and Chiropractic Care For Sciatica

For sciatica patients, these two forms of modalities complement each other. Massage therapy can be performed on sciatica patients as they await chiropractic treatment. In addition to releasing of the sciatic nerves after realignment of the spinal discs, massage plays a critical role in streamlining and speeding up the recovery in patients. In fact, massage is recommended to most sciatica patients as a supportive therapy.  Massage without chiropractic adjustment implies that the symptoms have not been fully addressed and will keep recurring going into the future. 

Limitations Associated With These Forms of Treatment 

Your choice between these two forms of modalities is determined by the cause of your sciatica symptoms, level or severity of sciatica and the underlying health conditions. The only side effects expected from these two are soreness, tingling, isolated and rare instances of mild pain. Although there are no serious risks associated with these two forms of modalities, their use should be accompanied by the professional contribution of your doctor. This is because underlying conditions such as back implants, tumor in the spine, osteoporosis and pregnancy can produce adverse effects when combined with both massage and chiropractic adjustment. Besides, your family physician can help you choose between the two. 

Massage and chiropractic care, just like any other aspect of healthcare, should be accorded utmost seriousness. A slight mistake can result to serious issues that might even cause loss of life. You cannot afford to entrust your health to inadequately skilled and an inexperienced practitioner. In this understanding, be sure to vet your practitioner by evaluating their reviews and license of operation. It is the only way you can be guaranteed peace of mind that comes with knowing you are not dealing with a quack but the right expert.