Fighting sciatica and fascial adhesion with a massage stick
November 10, 2015
When I am not on Kathe Ana’s table at Heavenly Body’s Clinic here in Arlington, I am using a Big Stick from The Stick to try to work out the almost debilitating tightness in both my right lumbar and the resulting tightness I have in the muscles in my shin.
I have been calling the first one sciatica: “lower back and buttocks pain and tingling, numbness and some weakness that originate in the lower back and travel through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg” and the second one has been described fascial adhesion. The fascia is a thin sheath of fibrous tissue enclosing a muscle or other organ.
I have barely needed to know about all of these things because I have always been super-strong and resilient. I have also been generally much better at stretching before and after I ran or lifted, rowed or sculled.
Myofascial release (MFR) is what I am all about now. My muscles are still strong and quick-to-respond but adding kettlebells swings — maybe even the unique all-day-long stresses of the Get Fit, Get Fierce with Kettlebell Swings by Don Fitch which seems simpler and more gentle than I had thought: 90-seconds of kettlebell swings followed by an hour of rest, all day long.
Well, I had started by trying to use a foam roller to to smooth out my aching body but when your mobility is a little limited by injury and extra weight, I didn’t use that heavy, solid, black foam roller nearly as much as I should.
My first massage roller stick was the a Tiger Tail I picked up at Target when I was down in Richmond, Virginia, and it was pretty good. It is short, stiff, and has a dense black foam sheath where the massage happens. It feels great on my feet, on my quads, on my inner thighs and my calves.
But what I wanted was something both a lot longer than the Tiger Tail and also something much more flexible, so I ordered the Big Stick massage roller that’s both very flexible and 30″ long.
It’s amazing and I love it, though it’s awkward to use in a focused way but essential when I really want to roll out my big chubby butt cheek where the brunt of the sciatic pain lives and often makes my toes and leg all tingly and sometimes a little asleep, which makes me terribly worried sometimes.
That said, I do think that I also plan to pick up both the 14″ Little Stick and the 17″ Travel Stick — I don’t have them yet but I am sure I’ll share them when I get them. There’s a whole range of sticks you can choose from.
Aside from all of the massage and the amazing acupuncture and myofascial release I get from Kathe Ana, I am told that walking helps and stretching helps and that I need to make sure that I work on mobility exercises and gentle full range-of-motion warm-ups — and I’ll do it, too. Can’t expect to do 90-seconds of kettlebell swings twelve-times-a-day in addition to walking, erging, sculling, and even running, without spending a lot of time easing into it and easing out of it.
Maybe I’ll take my own advice and try out yoga and pilates in 2016 (which really isn’t that far away anymore). Namaste and wish me luck and healing this Autumn and into the new year. Thanks in advance!