Updated: Oct 27, 2020
Sciatica affects many people, the lifetime prevalence of sciatic has been reported to be experienced by an estimated 49% of the population and often exacerbated by Occupational factors such as excessive driving, body vibration and strenuous physical activity (1).
The main symptoms are radiating unilateral leg pain and related disabilities and can vary from mild to severe affecting the lower back, through the glutes and down into the back of either legs (2).
Sciatica is the term used for when there is a compression to the upper and/or lower lumbar nerves and this entrapment could be a result of herniated or bulging disc or compression injury.
Relieving sciatic pain can be troublesome and can be often mistaken for Piriformis syndrome and a visit to a Physiotherapist should be the first step to ensuring there is nothing underlying that needs treatment. Although many report the temporary relief of Sciatic symptoms from the common TENNIS BALL.
Tennis Ball Therapy and in some instances ‘Laundry Ball Therapy’ can be a great form of self-myofascial release therapy. By applying continued pressure to an area of tight tissue, it can result in reducing tissue tightness and return it to pre-injury status.
Tennis Ball Therapy or Laundry Ball Therapy works by relieving tension on ‘trigger points’ especially around the Piriformis muscle and aiding blood flow to the area to remove harmful toxins and aid blood circulation.
Steps to Tennis Ball Therapy or Laundry Ball Therapy:
1. Lie (never sit) on the floor with the knees bent.
2. Place the Tennis ball over the area causing pain.
3. Press the Tennis ball on each sensitive area until the discomfort dissipates or fades away. Use very small movements forward and backwards over the site of discomfort to release the discomfort.
Tennis Ball Therapy is intended to provide temporary relief of back pain or discomfort. Should pain become sharp or painful stop immediately and seek the advice of a Physiotherapist or your GP.
Should symptoms persist seek professional advice from a Physiotherapist.
Other natural methods such as Turmeric have been shown to provide benefit to back pain.
Author: Chris Bartlett
Chris is Commercial Director for Rehabplus and has worked in the UK rehabilitation and physiotherapy sector for almost 15 years. He has a master’s degree in Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation with his dissertation on the management of Chronic Low Back Pain in the workplace. He has held a number of clinical and management positions in both UK and Australia.
1. Miranda H, Viikari-Juntera E, Martikainen R, Takala E, Riihimaki H. Individual factors, occupational loading, and physical exercise as predictors of sciatic pain. Spine 2002;27:1102-9
2. Vroomen PCAJ, Krom MCTFM de, Knottnerus JA. Diagnostic value of history and physical examination in patients suspected of sciatica due to disc herniation: a systematic review. J Neurol 1999;246:899-906.