If you ask us, we’re pretty sure that whoever coined the expression “a pain in the butt” had a pinched nerve.
To be specific, a pinched nerve can cause pain in your neck, back, arms, and legs. And yes — it can also be a (literal) pain in your butt. Medical experts estimate that 85 in 100,000 Americans suffer from pinched nerve pain every year.
If you’re suffering from a pinched nerve, no doubt you’re eager to find relief. You know that massage therapy offers an array of health benefits, but should you get a massage for a pinched nerve?
Keep reading as we explore the answer below.
What Causes a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve is also known as a compressed nerve. This occurs when your vertebrae or the surrounding soft tissue put pressure on a nerve. It often results from poor posture, repetitive movements, or an injury that causes a herniated disc.
- Muscle weakness
- Radiating pain (sharp or dull)
- “Pins and needles” sensation
Most pinched nerves originate in the back or the back, although they can also occur in the arm (tennis elbow) or the wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome). Another common syndrome is sciatica, which causes radiating pain in the lower back, hip, butt, and leg.
Should You Try Massage for a Pinched Nerve?
There’s no simple answer, as it depends on what’s causing your pinched nerve.
You might automatically associate pinched nerves with spinal problems, but that’s not always the case. In some people, their pinched nerve pain results from tight muscles, ligaments, or tendons.
For example, strained tendons in your wrist can squeeze the median nerve and result in carpal tunnel syndrome. Or a hard day of cycling can tighten your glutes and put pressure on your sciatic nerve, sending pain shooting down your leg.
In these cases, massage therapy may offer relief. One of the main goals of massage is to encourage your muscles to soften, relax, and lengthen. This will take that painful pressure off the nerve.
What if you have a herniated disc or another spinal condition that’s causing your nerve pain?
First, remember that massage therapists work with your body’s soft tissues, not your bones. If you do seek massage therapy for pinched nerve pain, your therapist will only address the related muscles, tendons, and ligaments — not the bone or the disc itself.
So, while massage therapy will not “fix” a herniated disc or a similar spinal problem, it can give you some relief in the meantime. Of course, whatever treatment options you decide to try, make sure to get your doctor’s approval first.
The Best Types of Massage for Pinched Nerves
If you want to try massage to ease your pain, which type of massage should you book?
Swedish massage might be a good place to start. Your therapist will use light-to-medium pressure as well as gentle stretching to lengthen your muscles and relax your joints.
For a pinched nerve in the lower back, a deep tissue massage could provide more relief. The muscles in your low back, glutes, and hips are very dense, and it might take more pressure to release tension and encourage those soft tissues to relax.
Whether you choose a Swedish or deep tissue massage, communication with your therapist is key. Don’t hesitate to speak up if you need more (or less) pressure in a certain area. Listen to your body and provide constructive feedback so you can work as a team to find relief.
Get Relief for Your Pinched Nerve Today
A pinched nerve can be a minor annoyance, a debilitating condition, or anything in between.
Before you take more painkillers or sign up for invasive surgery, why not give your body the chance to heal itself? You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results when you try massage for a pinched nerve.
Once you’ve gotten the green light from your doctor, book an appointment or call us at 970-445-2114 to learn more.