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Lower Back Pain and Sciatica - Self-Treatment!

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posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 06:03 PM
I've had sciatica for many years and occasionally, I do something that triggers a "flare-up". In recent discussions with a friend, I learned about pressure point massage and how helpful it can be. I have been doing it for 2 days now and I can't BELIEVE how much better I feel! I thought I would share here for those who have this terrible medical issue.

This site is mostly about acupuncture and herbs, but there's a paragraph I wanted to include here.

I get many letters from people reading this article who want to know what points to press or how to press them. It is difficult to answer this question briefly, but I can say that if you want to simply mash your thumb into any location on the lower back or leg that is sensitive along the trajectory of the sciatica pain, you’ll be helping the problem. Don’t push so hard that it causes a bruise and don’t do it so hard that it makes you cry. Just a little pain is really what you want to shoot for. Use the thumb for points on the legs. For tender points on the buttocks, you’ll want to use your elbow to get in there deeply. More likely you’ll end up using someone else’s elbow, but I’ll leave that up to you. Hold down each point for two minutes.

Since I can't reach my buttocks with my elbow (congratulations to those of you who can), I found on another site that suggests the use of a tennis ball against the wall. That's what I've been doing and I can't believe the relief it has given me! I use it over the entire area of pain.

Tennis Ball Self-Treatment

The illustration shows treatment of low back pain with massage of the buttocks muscles using a tennis ball or lacrosse ball against a wall. Treat the entire area covered by the pocket. Keep your feet 12 inches or more away from the wall.

You can also use the tennis ball in your chair in the evening or even in your bed.

You can download the entire Trigger Point Therapy Workbook from a variety of sites. Just Google it.

The whole Western Medical community doesn't want you to treat yourself with tennis balls and elbows. They'd rather you have MRIs and take muscle relaxers, etc. So, I hope this brings some relief to my fellow sufferers!

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 06:10 PM
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic

Thanks for that.
I've had sciatic nerve pain for nearly 20 years.
I always use my fist and lay on it at the worst spot of pain (middle buttock)
I also have laid on massagers, but they burnt out. lol.
I recently found out that I didn't have arthritis, but the problem comes from something with my lower back, so I am looking into it.
I would also get my children to walk on my back, but my oldest weighs about 150, so he can hurt me now.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 06:25 PM
Cool post.

I've had my share of sciatica and back pain. A few years back I had a pain in the back of my right leg that got worse and worse over several months. I finally went to a doctor when i could barely walk, Sneeze or laugh and he told me I had a ruptured disc at the bottom of my spine which was pushing agains my sciatic nerve!!

I was then on a waiting list for 6 months to get an operation which was the hardest 6 months of my life. Terrible pain every day in my back and right up and down my right leg.

In that 6 months i went to see a physio lady who also did wonders for me. She found the pressure point in my lower buttock and pushed it hard for several minutes with her thumbs and you could actually feel the sciatic nerve twitching all the way down my leg.

It releieved the pain for a couple of days and kick started the nerve too, but in the end the operation could not come soon enough!!!

All is fine now!!!


[edit on 7-1-2010 by grantbeed]

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 06:31 PM
That is great advice BH. I may give that a try. It does give new meaning to the phrase "balls to the wall"

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 06:36 PM
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic

Since I can't reach my buttocks with my elbow (congratulations to those of you who can),

LOL that's hilarious,

ty, I have this problem I will try it.

[edit on 063131p://bThursday2010 by Stormdancer777]

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 06:37 PM
thanks so much for that.. I often suffer from it after shattering a disk in my lower spine 10 years ago, the last ime i had it was last year I was bed ridden for 2 weeks and it was nearly 3 months until i was back to normal..
thanks again!

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 06:46 PM
Thanks for the information BH.

I use one of these when my pain get to bad.

Imagine a picture of an Inversion table here!

BBcode has never worked for me.

[edit on 7-1-2010 by whaaa]

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 09:27 PM
I googled trigger points and found some treatments for my husbands Plantar Fasciitis. and seems to help. Thanks for post!

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 09:47 PM
Thanks much for your thread, BH. My Bride has had lower back pain for years until recently. We went to an accupuncturist, after having exhausted conventional medical remedies. The accupuncturist was very instructional and included me, even encouraging me to take a hands-on approach during the sessions. She taught me to use a large pencil eraser on the end of a pencil to provide moderate localized presssure.

I was going to link a site I used to use that had accupressure locations, however it's no longer working.

About six months ago, under the advice of our accupuncturist, we purchased an AccuPlus Unit.. It's miraculous. It works along the lines of a TENS unit, except that it's a single point stimulator. Accompanying the unit is a book which details the points, the meridians, and even the methodology -- treatment or dispersion, etc.

I'd never ordered anything from Australia before, and was pleasantly surprised how easy they made it. The unit was about USD $225.00, plus shipping.

Along the way, I became acquainted with the website Yin Yang House. What a treasure. We picked up a portable massage table (it can get very tiring for the person doing the treatment otherwise) and m'darlin' hasn't had back pain, nor ankle, nor knee, nor hip pain of any severe extent for months.

This stuff really works. I'm even using Moxa on her, although it makes me a tad uncomfortable, as burning moxa smells suspiciously like an illegal substance.

The tennis ball treatment sounds good, although I wonder if it isn't too broad of an area to provide precise point stimulation. I think of points like that juncture between the base of the thumb and forefinger....... can't imagine really getting into the "mild pain" pressure of that area without the beloved big pencil eraser.

Thanks again for sharing your experiences....... back pain and other bodily pains seem to be pretty common. This could almost fit within the survival forum, as it could be that sometime in the future, we might have to deal with this level of treatment ourselves. Myself, I have a rediculous amount of big pencil erasers in a double-ziplock.

Of course, I'm a foilhead.


posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 09:51 PM
Ah, thanks BH, I got the ole' busted disc deal at L4-L5. Been a problem on and off forever I think (30 years?).
My wife gives me massages that sound similar to this and they help tremendously. To those who suffer badly with back issues you have my sympathy.
I did get a steroid epideural that worked fantastic for about a year, the second and third ones didn;t do squat. Ditto for the Lumbar facet injections which I only took because my ass of a doctor wouldn;t give me any pain meds.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 10:13 PM
This is up my alley. I practiced therapeutic/clinical massage for 2 years. Sciatica is what I saw a LOT of.

Here is how I treated patients for sciatica.

The patient lie faced down on the massage table. With my elbow I gently applied direct pressure on the glute muscle in hopes of UNLOCKING the muscle. This is called trigger point therapy and it is very effective.

For those of you in a chronic condition I highly recommend finding a good massage therapist and getting this type of treatment. When you go, you may wish to take a friend or spouse and have them observe the treatment. Your friend or spouse can then see how relatively easy it is to do and can do some therapy on you.

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 07:11 AM
It's so nice to see so many positive responses! I really hope this helps some people.

solarstorm, I do have an appointment Monday morning with a massage therapist for this very thing and my husband will be observing. I want to learn all I can for future issues.

Thanks again to all for all the great information and participation!

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 08:44 AM
I just wanted to add what my Doctor (MD) said to do about my back, which has helped a lot.

1. Pay attention to symmetry. If you sit for any length of time, make sure your body is symmetrical from left to right. Odd twists and postures can add to back pain by placing unnecessary weight and strain on certain muscles.

2. Get lumbar support. Make sure there's a slight arch in your back when you're sitting or lying down. I am using a lumbar pillow in all my sitting areas.

He also mentioned massage and sleeping on your side as good things to do.

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 09:20 AM
I have to check in here, for I have a chronic problem in my lower back that has already required two surgeries, with a fusion/fixation of all five lumbar vertebrae. It all started in 1985, when I rolled over in a semi truck I was driving, and separated my spine, breaking loose each disc, and breaking my neck and two lower lumbar vertebrae. The docs fused my neck in 1987, and it still is in pretty good shape, but the lower back thing is still bothering me, and paining me all the time. I found out have a thing called
Pars Defect

I recently fell from the bathtub into the toilet and broke another vertebrae in my upper Thoracic vertebrae
This will require a new surgery very soon. I urge anyone suffering from chronic lower back pain to get checked out by a Neurosurgeon, and tell him/her to look for Pars Defect. It is a genetic bone defect, and if a grandparent or parent had it, chances are you will have it too. It takes a X-Ray and MRI to spot Pars, it is a growth between two
vertebrae, grinding it's way into the bone, and pushing the disc out as it grows.

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 09:29 AM
I am no expert, but I certainly don't think it could hurt. The reason I think that is because I used to suffer from horrible sciatica due to a very slightly herniated disc in my lower back. One day I was sitting on a slide in the park, and a kid came down it and kicked me gently in the lower back. Initially it hurt, but within moments the pain vanished. It has never returned.

Crazy but true story lol. So I have think that pressure at the right point can make a difference based on that, but that's just experiential speculation on my part.

[edit on 1/8/2010 by AceWombat04]

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 09:43 AM
Thanks for the info BH,
I suffer from a recurring trapped sciatic nerve since a fall about 15 years ago.
I will definitley try the tennis ball trick.
Seems like a better way to go than getting addicted to pain killers.
Posture is important as you mentioned-but does anyone know how to correct bad sleeping posture-due to my bad back I always sleep in a funny position,with a twist to my back(sort of like the recovery position).
My chiropractor said it does not help my injury,but I can't seem to control it,due to the fact it happens in my sleep!

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 09:46 AM

Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Pay attention to symmetry. If you sit for any length of time, make sure your body is symmetrical from left to right. Odd twists and postures can add to back pain by placing unnecessary weight and strain on certain muscles.

This is the gold standard! I have 'cured' a number of guys of their back pain by simply suggesting that they carry their wallets in their front pockets (instead of back). Between that, and eliminating coffee after 8:00pm to control upper leg cramps, there's a few folks out there that owe me their first-born.

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 09:46 AM
Good thread OP,
I had sciatic pain for years (shooting pain in the back of my legs), then read that if you put a few books underneath your lower back and while lying down roll from side to side ,that got rid of it straight away.
Also I read a good way of getting rid of headaches ,Press your thumb next to your forefinger and a little bump comes up between them ,then relax your hand and locate where the bump was and massage it.
I rarely take any perscription medicine and find most peoples simple problems can be solved by just drinking more water (nobody drinks it anymore).

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 09:50 AM
I've struggled with bad discs for 25 years.... four back operations and a double drop foot... My best advice is do not sit on a wallet, and stay well hydrated!! My 2-cent

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 09:56 AM
Thanks for posting this BH! Great information!

I suffered from sciatica pain - but that was due to rupturing my L5 disc which was pinching the nerve. I had my L5 disc removed and my L4 & L5 vertebrae fused together. I was 29 and it was due to lifting too much weight and doing it wrong. This was my last resort. Every other option had been tried, but you just can not push a disc back into the vertebrae once it is almost completely out.

I don't have the pain anymore, but I still have back issues now and then
and yes, sometimes my sciatica acts up (maybe its permanently damaged?)

Anyways, again, great info!

Wanted to add....I find using an EXERCISE BALL works wonders when using it to sit on rather than a regular chair. See link for more tips on proper sitting techniques at your desk.

[edit on January 8th 2010 by greeneyedleo]

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