We feel your pain. The pain of sciatica can feel like the worst pain of your life, yet no treatment seems to help with it. That’s why you're probably constantly on the lookout for ways to ease your pain. If so, buying a massage chair could be your ticket to living a pain-free life.
Millions of people find pain relief through massage therapy, and many even buy their own massage chairs to use at home.
But how does massage chair therapy relieve sciatic pain? Does it even help with sciatica? This post will discuss the research on massage chairs and sciatica to answer those questions. Keep reading to learn more!
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is the pain radiating along the line of your sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve branches from the lower back. It passes through your hips and buttocks and runs down each leg.
Sciatica cases have increased more than ever before. Research suggests that every one out of three individuals will suffer from sciatica at some point in their lifetime.
Causes of sciatica pain
Pain occurs when the sciatic nerve gets compressed between two bone structures. Research shows that a herniated lumbar disc causes this compression in almost 90% of sciatica cases. Some other causes of sciatic nerve compression include the following:
- Degeneration of lumbar vertebra
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal foramen through which sciatic nerve emerges from the spinal cord). It is common in older individuals.
- Bony overgrowth
- Minor fractures of lumbar vertebra
- Inflammation around the sciatic nerve
What increases your risk of sciatica?
Sciatica is a lifestyle and occupational disease. According to a study, some common risk factors for sciatica include the following:
- Old age: Disc herniation and spinal degeneration are more common in older people.
- Obesity: Being obese and overweight puts extra stress on your spine, triggering sciatica.
- Occupation: People who work jobs that involve carrying heavy loads, twisting their backs, or driving a motor vehicle for long periods have a higher risk of sciatica.
- Prolonged sitting: People who live sedentary lifestyles and sit for long periods are more likely to suffer from sciatica.
- Diabetes: Diabetes indirectly increases your risk of sciatica by damaging your sciatic nerve.
How do massage chairs relieve sciatica pain?
Now that we know what causes sciatica and what increases your risk of developing it, let's see how massage chairs help relieve this pain.
Scientific evidence shows that massage therapy can effectively relieve pain and increase the range of motion in people with sciatica.
There are many ways massage chairs can ease the pain and other symptoms of sciatica. Here is a brief explanation of how massage chairs help with sciatica.
Pain relief by increased endorphins
Endorphins are the body's natural painkillers. They bind to specific receptors in your brain, reducing your perception of pain. Massage chairs help release endorphins in your body, providing relief from sciatica pain.
A 2014 study found that massage therapy can be as effective as NSAID painkillers in people with lower back pain and sciatica. Unlike painkiller medications, massage offers long-lasting pain relief and has no side effects.
Endorphins not only relieve pain but also have other benefits. They can help improve your mood, boost your immunity, and promote overall well-being. By relieving pain and promoting relaxation, massage chairs can help you live a healthier and happier life.
Deep-tissue lower back massage
Deep tissue massage is very effective at relieving sciatic nerve pain. It helps break up and release the muscle knots (trigger points) in your lower back that may be compressing your sciatic nerve and causing pain.
A massage chair uses intense pressure and slow strokes to reach the deep layers of your muscles and fascia. It helps loosen up the tight muscles in your lower back which are often the source of sciatica pain.
A clinical study evaluated the effects of deep tissue massage on lower back pain in people with sciatica. Patients who had one 30-minute session per week of deep tissue massage for five consecutive weeks reported significantly lower back pain than those who didn’t receive massage chair therapy.
So, when choosing a massage chair for sciatica, make sure it has a deep tissue massage feature.
Our MASSAGE CHAIR has in-built deep tissue massage features, helping you get the most out of your chair. With Zarifa USA's massage chairs, you can enjoy long-lasting pain relief.
Stimulate sciatic nerve endings with kneading techniques
Kneading is a massage technique where the therapist uses both hands to massage the tissues in a circular, pressing motion. This massage technique is often used on the shoulders and lower back muscles.
Our massage chair uses mechanical kneading massage balls to provide relief from sciatica pain. They stimulate pressure points along the sciatic nerve. The massage balls help increase blood flow and reduce muscle tension in the affected area, providing relief from pain.
A 2018 study found that massage therapy using a massage chair can help reduce sciatica pain. Patients who got massage therapy three times a week for five weeks reported significant improvements in pain, disability, and quality of life.
Heat therapy to lower pain intensity
Heat therapy is an ancient and popular remedy for pain relief. It works by dilating blood vessels, increasing blood flow, and relaxing tense muscles. It also helps reduce inflammation, which is often a cause of sciatica pain.
A 2014 study compared the effects of cold and heat therapy for lower back pain in sciatica patients. Researchers found that heat therapy is more effective than cold therapy for sciatica pain.
People who received heat therapy for one week reported significantly less pain than those who received cold therapy for their back.
So, if you need a massage chair to relieve your sciatica pain, choose one with deep massage and heating features.
Our massage chairs come with inbuilt heating pads in the lumbar and calf regions, providing complete coverage of heat therapy to sciatic pain areas. The heat helps increase blood flow, relax the muscles, and relieve pain.
Spinal correction and stretching
The sciatic nerve passes from your lower back through the buttocks and legs. Any problem in the lower spine region can compress the sciatic nerve and cause pain.
Research has shown a clear association between poor sitting and walking postures and sciatica. Studies show that office workers who sit for long periods and are exposed to awkward posture are more likely to suffer disc herniation and sciatica. Similarly, bad walking posture also strains your spine, increasing your risk of sciatica.
A massage chair can help correct your posture and stretch your spine. It helps stretch your muscles and relieve back tension. Stretching the muscles in your lower back can help reduce compression of the sciatic nerve and relieve pain.
How to choose the best massage chair for sciatica
Therapeutic massage chairs for sciatica offer maximum benefits when you invest in a top-quality one. You can trust that Zarifa USA is dedicated to making top-quality massage chairs that improve your health and wellness.
A good massage chair enables you to enjoy your own therapy sessions at home. Your chair should match what YOU need - not just how much space is available in your room!
When choosing your perfect massage chair for sciatica pain, here are a few things to consider.
Your massage chair needs
Decide what you want from a massage chair before you begin your research. For example, if you need a massage chair for sciatica, consider an L-track massage chair that can massage further down your spine, lower back, and glutes.
On the other hand, if you just aim to relax and enjoy your massage chair, you should look for massage chairs with built-in Swedish massage and relaxation programs.
Consult your doctor
If you have any medical conditions, it's always best to consult your doctor before using a massage chair. This is crucial if you are pregnant or have recently had surgery.
Good massage chairs range from a few hundred dollars to upwards of $5,000. It’s important to have a budget in mind before starting your research. This way you can find the best massage chair for you without breaking the bank.
Next, you need to consider which massage roller will best suit your needs. There are three available options: 2D, 3D, and 4D rollers.
2D rollers are the oldest generation of massage rollers. They massage by moving in two directions. They can move vertically (up and down along the back) or horizontally (side to side across the width of the back).
Second-generation 3D rollers can move in three directions. In addition to moving vertically and horizontally, they can protrude in and out. This additional dimension enables 3D rollers to provide a more human-like feel and deep tissue massage.
4D rollers are the latest advancement in massage roller technology. They have all of the capabilities of 3D rollers with one additional feature. 4D rollers can also change their massage speed on the fly. The user can control how fast or slow the rollers move. This allows for the most customizable and human-like massage experience.
Should you only choose massage chairs with 4D rollers?
Not necessarily. 2D rollers are not as exciting or innovative as the others, but they provide a smooth experience. If you can afford it, 3D or 4D rollers are the way to go. They offer a more customized and human-like massage.
It all comes down to the massage intensity you need. If you’re particularly looking for a high-intensity massage, buy a 3D or 4D massage chair. If massage intensity and variety aren't a priority, 2D will work fine.
S or L roller track
Once you’ve decided on the roller type, you need to decide on the massage chair's roller track. There are two options: S and L track.
S-track roller chairs massage along the natural S-shape of your spine. L-track roller chairs massage from your neck down to your glutes and hamstrings.
L-track massage chairs work best for scoliosis. They effectively massage your lower spine and back muscles to relieve pain. However, they are slightly larger and more expensive than S-track chairs.
Massage chair features
Massage chairs with kneading balls and heat pads are best for sciatica pain relief. They can also help correct your posture and stretch your spine. This will help reduce compression of the sciatic nerve and provide pain relief.
Make sure to try out the massage chair before you buy it to ensure that it is comfortable and provides your desired results.
You can learn about the many benefits of massage at our website, including how it helps with relaxation and stress relief. You'll also be able to see what you're getting yourself into with each style before deciding on the right type for your needs!
Still, have questions? Just drop us a message. We're all about helping you feel your best. If this sounds like something that could help improve any aches and pains, give us a call or email! We've got answers (and videos) on how to get started with buying your massage chair today.
All Zarifa USA products are HSA and FSA eligible. This means you can contribute your health savings funds towards the purchase of any of our products!