back pain


(1) Non-specific lower back pain
(2) Sciatica
(3) More serious spinal problems (Red Flags)


This is the most common type of back pain. It is not always possible to diagnose the exact cause of pain in most people which is why the term non-specific low back pain is used.


Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disc, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.


Red flags require urgent medical attention. If you have some of these signs or symptoms listed below, it is important that you alert your GP or another medical professional immediately:

  • Loss of power in both legs
  • Fever or feeling unwell together with back pain
  • History of trauma to the back
  • Numbness/tingling around genitals or buttocks area
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Difficulty passing urine or having no sensation to pass urine
Benefit of massage for sciatica, sciatica


Sciatica is the term used to refer to pain along the sciatic nerve, which extends from lower back, through hips and buttocks, and down each leg.

Sciatica can range in severity from mild to severe. It is often accompanied by other symptoms, including numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected leg and foot.


Massage’s main benefit is soothing tense muscles. When your muscles are tense, they can put more pressure on your nerves, including your sciatic nerve. Massaging these tense muscles may help to reduce pressure on your sciatic nerve.

Soft tissue massage may also help to increase your pain threshold by stimulating the release of endorphins. Endorphins boost pleasure and relieve pain, causing an increased feeling of well-being. They are also released during exercise.


There are several types of massage therapy. There isn’t much evidence that one type is more beneficial for sciatica pain than another, so choosing one comes down to personal preference. Here’s a look at some of the most common types.

  • Deep tissue massage

A deep tissue massage is an aggressive form of massage that uses slow strokes and deep finger pressure to release tension from your muscles and connective tissues. A 2014 clinical study found that a 30-minute session of deep tissue massage five days a week over two weeks was found to effectively treat low back pain, including sciatica.

  • Swedish massage

Swedish massage doesn’t use as much pressure as deep tissue massage. Instead, flowing, kneading movements are used to stimulate nerve endings in your connective tissue and increase blood flow. It also helps to release general tension and promote relaxation.

  • Neuromuscular massage

Neuromuscular massage uses advanced massage techniques that combine deep tissue pressure and friction to release contracted muscles and relieve tension.

  • Myofascial release

Myofascial release is a technique used to relieve pain that stems from your myofascial tissues — the tough membrane that surrounds and supports your muscles. Focused pressure and stretching on the trigger points help to reduce pain and stiffness.

  • Hot stone massage

The hot stone massage is used to promote relaxation and ease tense muscles. Heated stones are placed on specific parts of your body and may be held by the massage therapist while they use Swedish massage techniques.

Piriformis syndrome, sciatica


It could be related to sciatica or it could be piriformis syndrome. Sciatica nerve roots come out of the spinal column low in the back and then pass behind the hip joint. Piriformis syndrome: The piriformis muscle typically runs on top of the sciatic nerve in the buttocks and can compress the sciatic nerve if the muscle becomes too tight. The symptoms may get worse after sitting for a long time, walking upstairs, walking, or running.


How to cope with sciatica pain while driving?

  • Get some extra support. Utilising lumbar support will be key in helping those suffering from sciatica pain.
  • Don’t hunch forward when driving.
  • Check your driving positions.
  • Be careful how you get in and out of the car.
  • Drive for short periods.
  • Take frequent breaks and get out of the car during break time.
  • Do your stretches.
  • Choose the right car.
  • Utilise heat pads.
back pain


  1. Muscle spasm and strained muscles or ligament. Activities that can lead to muscle strains or spasms include; lifting something improperly, lifting something too heavy, making an abrupt and awkward movement.

2. Injuries on the back, fractures and falls can cause back pain.

3. Ruptured disks. Each vertebra in the spine is cushioned by disks, if the disk ruptures, there will be more pressure on a nerve resulting in back pain.

4. Bulging disks. In much the same way as ruptured disks, a bulging disk can result in more pressure on a nerve.

5. Sciatica. A sharp and shooting pain that travels through the buttock and down the back of the leg caused by a bulging or herniated disk that is pressing on a nerve. Sciatica can also cause numbness, tingling and weakness in the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet.

6. Arthritis. Osteoarthritis can cause problems with the joints in the hips and lower back.

7. Spinal stenosis. A narrowing of space around the spinal cord.

8. Abnormal curvature of the spine. If the spine curves in an unusual way, back pain can result. An example is a scoliosis in which the spine curves to the side.

9. Osteoporosis. A condition where the bones, including the vertebra of the spine, become brittle and porous making compression fracture more likely.

10. Kidney problem. Kidney stones or kidney infection can cause back pain.

back pain, sciatica, slipped disc


Sciatica is a term that describes symptoms of pain, numbness and/or weakness that radiate along the sciatic nerve from the lower back to the buttocks and legs. The medical term for sciatica is lumbar radiculopathy. Sciatica symptoms are typically felt on only one side of the body.


  • degenerative disc disease (breakdown of discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae)
  • lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back)
  • spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another one)
  • pregnancy
  • muscle spasm in the back or buttocks
  • slipped disc

Tips to relieve sciatica pain

  • Apply heat or ice. Why heat or ice? Heat (or warmth) dilates blood vessels, this increase blood flow & relaxes your muscles and you may feel less pain. Ice reduce local inflammation and ease the sharp pain. When your sciatica flare-up starts, wrap some ice in a cloth towel and place it on your lower back for about 10 to 15 minutes. If your skin begins to feel numb, remove the ice immediately. Please do not apply ice directly on your skin but rap damp cloth around ice. To apply heat, position an electric heating pad or hot water bottle against your lower back, buttock, or back of your leg for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Stretch your hamstrings. If you do not regularly stretch your hamstrings, they can become tight and inflexible, aggravating sciatica pain. It may seem counter-intuitive, but resting for more than a day or so does not make sciatica go away. Stretching or exercising on the other hand can increase blood circulation to the injured areas and help lessen your pain.
  • Give yourself a massage. Give yourself a massage using a tennis ball. To try out this DIY massage, simple lie on the floor and place the tennis ball under your buttock or thigh, slowly roll over it until you find a tender spot to focus on. The gentle pressure from the tennis ball may provide relief similar to what you would get from a typical pressure-point massage. Stop right away if you feel sudden pain


  • Spondylosisthesis. As a result of an injury or a congenital condition, spondylosisthesis can be the most painful type of sciatica. It occurs when one vertebra pushes forward to the next vertebra, compressing the sciatic nerve and resulting in a remarkable stabbing pain.
  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. This type of sciatica occurs with age, when the spinal canal grows narrow, resulting in a tendency to pinch the spinal nerves and causing pressure on the spinal cord itself.
  • Piriformis Syndrome. Symptoms of piriformis syndrome are felt in the piriformis muscle found in the buttocks are of the body. Of the different types of sciatica, piriformis syndrome is the hardest one to diagnose primarily because it affected the muscle and therefore does not show up in x-rays.
  • Herniated and Bulging Disc. A herniated disc and bulging disc are two of the more common types of sciatica, the root of which originates in the disc itself. A herniated disc happens when the nucleus pulposis or the jelly-like center of the disk leaks through a tear in annulus fibrosis. On the other hand, a bulging disc is the result of the nucleus pulposis bulging outward causing tension and pain.
  • Additional weight during pregnancy, improper weight lifting posture and prolonged sitting can pinch the sciatic nerve or its smaller branched resulting in pain.


Pain in the coccyx (or tail bone) is generally due to injury. The severity of injury can range from a bruise to a fracture. Injury can be due to direct impact from a fall onto your bottom. Some sports, such as cycling or rowing can increase the risk of coccyx pain due to repetitive pressure or friction on the coccyx.

In most cases, the pain will improve over few weeks or months, but occasionally it can last much longer and severely affect your ability to carry out everyday activities.

The following may help reduce the coccyx pain:

  • use a specially designed coccyx cushion – this cushion can be bought on amazon at the following website  this cushion help reduce the pressure on your tailbone/coccyx while you’re sitting down.
  • avoid prolonged sitting whenever possible – try to stand up and walk around regularly, leaning forward while seated may also help.
  • wear loose-fitting clothes – avoid clothing such as tight jeans or trousers that may put pressure on your tailbone.
  • cold packs and warm pack .
  • try laxatives (medicines to treat constipation) if the pain is worse when you’re having a poo – many laxatives are available to buy from pharmacies and supermarkets without prescription.
  • take over-the-counter painkillers. If the pain and discomfort is not too severe, it may be relieved with over-the-counter pain killers known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) which are available without a prescription. However, some people cannot take NSAIDS because they’re allergic to them or have an increased risk of developing stomach ulcers. If this is the case, try taking paracetamol instead. Ask a pharmacist or GP for advice if you’re unsure what to take.
Picture of specially designed coccyx cushion. Cushion is placed on top of the chair showing that the U-Shape design of the cushion should be against the back of the chair