Tennis balls and sciatica

Did you know that a tennis ball can be an affordable, invaluable tool for releasing many aches and pains? I have already blogged on this last week and today I will discuss how a tennis ball can be used to relieve sciatica.

What is sciatica?

This is a nerve pain that runs along the sciatic nerve, from the lower back, and down the leg. It is an uncomfortable pain that is felt in the leg and can at times feel like a leg cramp. At its worst, the sufferer will experience a ‘shooting’ pain down the leg from the bottom that will make both standing and sitting impossible. Sciatica can lead to numbness and tingling sensations in the leg that can come on suddenly or over a period of time.

What causes sciatica?

There is not one sole reason for such pain. Sciatica can be a result of a ‘pinched nerve’ which will affect the spinal nerves in the lower back. A herniated disc can cause sciatica. The disc is out of place can place pressure on the root of the sciatic nerve to cause the pain sensation that is felt.

Tennis ball and sciatica – how can it help?

A tennis ball can be used as a form of massage therapy to try and release the nerve. Laying down on the floor, take the tennis ball and place it under the gluteal muscle where you are experiencing the pain. Lift the same leg up, so your opposite leg, arm, and back are supporting you on the floor. This will also allow you to control the amount of pressure you are applying to the area too.

For this to be effective, you should slowly and steadily slide your gluteus muscle over the tennis ball. When you come across ‘hot spot’, areas that feel more pain, pause for up to fifteen seconds, and continue to roll through the muscle until the pain subsides. At times the pain may be too unbearable, so choose to adjust the ball so you take away any direct pressure to those ‘hot spots’ on your gluteus muscle. If this unbearable pain persists, please do not continue to partake in this exercise and rest.

Can I help sciatica without using a tennis ball?

If the pain is too unbearable to release the sciatic nerve using a tennis ball, I would highly recommend stretching out the gluteus muscle as a second intervention. You will want to concentrate on releasing the piriformis muscle, hamstrings, and hip extensor muscles. This may help to decrease the pain along the sciatic nerve and to improve the range of motion in your hips. Failing this I would look up the following three stretches that may be of help to you. Especially if you are suffering from sciatica and a tennis ball has not helped in any way to date, I would try a supine piriformis stretch, a cross-body piriformis stretch, and a 4-point piriformis stretch.

For more information or to speak to me about how I can help, contact me today.

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