By The Foot Whisperer Reflexology Institute
Sciatica is very prominent in the American society today. With most sitting behind desks and working on computers or sitting at home watching tablets and TV’s, the amount of time we spend putting pressure on the sciatic nerve is increasing with technology.
The problem with that constant pressure is that over time it will result in low back pain, discomfort in sitting, radiating pain down the legs, or even immobilization of your legs. All of these problems can effect are everyday lives and stop us from doing what we need to do.
The sciatic nerve originates in the low back from the lumbar spine, passes underneath the glute muscles, runs down the leg, and ends in the heel of your foot. This nerve is the longest in the body and relays an extraordinary amount of information about your lower half to your brain. With the importance and size of this nerve you can see why it can be so debilitating.
There are two main reasons why your sciatic nerve starts to give you problems: First, being a herniation or misalignment of the vertebra in the lumbar spine and the second, more common reason, is the muscles that surround the sciatic nerve are not properly balanced with the right amount of tension. Some people in the health care field will say that sciatica is caused by too much tension in the muscles but the opposite can also be true. A lack of muscle tension can allow for bones and other muscles to misalign in attempt to compensate for the muscles that are not functioning properly. It all comes back to finding a healthy balance of proper muscle tension.
The sciatic reflex on the feet is a band that that runs horizontally across the middle of the heel. This also happens to be where the actually sciatic nerve connects and receives information from the 75,000 free nerve endings we have in our feet. Working the full surface of the heel as well as the surrounding areas is very important in trying to bring the sciatica into balance, but working the reflexes for the sciatic nerve and lower body can be difficult for someone to do on themselves. I recommend having someone, such as a Reflexologist, help you by gently massaging the heel and holding any areas with extra congestion with a constant appropriate pressure.
Another key area to work for relief would be the ankles. When there is an issue with sciatic nerve the ankles tend to build up excess fluid and lose mobility. Gentle ankle rotations in both directions can flush the built-up fluid and provide a great amount of relief.
In some instances, the heel and the surrounding areas can be too sensitive to the touch; you can then lie down flat on your back with your partner standing by your side. Have them grab the leg that is giving you the problems and slowly raise the leg up until you feel the discomfort from the nerve. Once the pain is felt your partner should lower your leg and proceed to raise the leg again until you feel the discomfort again. Continue this routine for about 10-15 times and you should start to feel the pain move up your leg towards your lower back. This will help to increase the circulation and allow the proper tension in the muscles to form. When you are doing this exercise make sure that your partner is lifting your leg and you are not helping them to do so.
Each body and person is different. Try multiple approaches and find the one or two that help to balance your body the most. When in doubt seek a medical professional’s opinion and always remember to listen to your body’s signs and signals.