How to massage away sciatica pain

Updated February 21, 2017

Once you develop sciatica due to an injury or compression of one of five interrelated nerve roots, you may experience chronic pain, numbness or loss of movement on one side of your body. You may find some relief in various massage techniques if you experience a flare-up after overuse of your lower back muscles. Used in combination with other treatments, massage can relieve muscle tightness and increase circulation to painful areas.

Ask your spouse or partner to massage your lower back and the upper portion of your buttocks by applying pressure on the sides of your lower spine, extending over the top part of your sacrum. Lie on your stomach on a hard surface. Using the heel of the hand, the person assisting will press deeply and use a circular motion to loosen the muscles and tendons that tighten around the sciatic nerve.

Use vibration therapy to encourage circulation and relax contracted back and buttock muscles. An electric massager with a large surface area relieves tension. You can achieve the same effect if the person giving you a massage uses the sides of his hands and chops up and down quickly on the upper portion of your buttocks. Avoid using vibration techniques over the kidneys and directly on the spine.

Use self-massage after a hot bath on sciatica pain that extends down the back of your leg. Because the sciatic nerve runs down your leg, the back of your thigh and the outside area on your hip are often affected.

Place a protective towel on your bed and use cushions to provide a comfortable backrest. Select a creamy lotion or massage oil and lie back in a semi-reclined position. Use a quarter-sized dollop of lotion. Rub your palms together vigorously to warm the lotion. Raise your knee on the affected side and gently spread the lotion on the back of your thigh.

Place one hand on either side of your thigh with your fingers extending around the back. Start with gentle pressure and pull your fingers from the back side of your knee all the way to your hip. Increase the pressure as you become accustomed to the feeling.

Reverse the direction and pull your fingers from the back of your hip upward to the back of your knee. Add lotion as needed to keep the back of your leg lubricated and slippery. Dig your fingers into the muscle to loosen tightness and increase circulation. Stretch your leg gently as you perform the massage. Ice your lower back after the massage to reduce inflammation.


See a physician for an initial diagnosis of sciatica if this is the first time you've experienced the pain. This will help rule out other medical conditions.

Things You'll Need

  • Massage oil or lotion
  • Vibration massager (optional)
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About the Author

Glenda Taylor is a contractor and a full-time writer specializing in construction writing. She also enjoys writing business and finance, food and drink and pet-related articles. Her education includes marketing and a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.