Back Pain

How To Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain And Back Pain With Just A Tennis Ball

If you are one of the 40% of people who suffer from pain related to sciatica or piriformis syndrome, you know it can interfere with your quality of life. Although some people experience only mild pain, others can suffer from severe pain from their lower back all the way down to their feet. However, you might be surprised to hear you may be able to help relieve sciatic nerve and back pain using a common tennis ball. Here we look at sciatic nerve pain, why it occurs and how you can find relief. (1,2)

Video courtesy of Healthy Holistic Living

What Is Piriformis Syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome causes your piriformis muscle to compress your sciatic nerve leading to pain. This muscle is found near the top of your hip joint in your buttocks. It plays a key role in stabilizing your hip joint by rotating and lifting your thigh away from your body so you can walk and move your hips and legs. Because the sciatic nerve goes through your piriformis muscle, if the piriformis is in spasm, it can lead to sciatic pain along the entire sciatic nerve. (3)

Using A Tennis Ball For Self-Myofascial Release Therapy

Self-myofascial release therapy uses continued pressure to help relieve tightness, restrictions and inflexibility in the myofascial tissue. The pressure is applied to the tender areas and can help return function and improve movement. Tennis balls are ideal to provide the type of pressure required and make it easier to apply a rolling motion for relief. The ball can be used for relief, but also as part of your pre-exercise warmup and cool-down process. Tennis ball therapy offers short-term benefits, helping you increase range of motion for the ankle, knee and hip. (4,5)

What Causes Sciatica?

Sciatica is caused by pinched upper and lower lumbar nerves resulting from a number of possible issues. This includes everything from herniation to compressive injuries and bulging discs to psoas dysfunction syndrome. As a result, your doctor doesn’t confirm sciatica as a diagnosis, but instead looks for the cause. It is not uncommon for people to assume they have sciatica when it is actually piriformis syndrome. (6,7)

You can help narrow down whether you actually do have sciatica by confirming you have the following symptoms (7):

  • Lower spine pain
  • Pain experienced in just one leg
  • Pain or burning in your glutes
  • Pins and needles
  • Leg weakness
  • Heaviness in your leg
  • Discomfort when you raise your leg straight out

Remember, sciatica is not a diagnosis, but instead a symptom of many possible conditions.

Do’s And Don’ts Of Tennis Ball Therapy

When performed properly, tennis ball therapy can help improve blood circulation and mobility, and reduce muscle tension. If you’d like to try tennis ball therapy to help ease pain, there are some do’s and don’ts to follow to see the best results. (8)


  • Consider the area causing your pain
  • Lie on the floor with your knees bent
  • Place the ball where you are experiencing pain, pressing down until you feel the pain release
  • Move back and forth allowing the ball to roll and massage the area
  • Stop if you feel pain
  • Try a few balls to target intense pain and release pressure on specific points


  • Sit when using the tennis ball as it could do more harm than good
  • Continue therapy if the pain increases as this could damage muscles and nerves

Keep in mind tennis ball therapy provides temporary back pain relief. If you find despite therapy the pain continues or worsens, speak to your doctor to explore possible treatments for pain relief.

Is There A Longer Term Solution For Piriformis Syndrome?

As mentioned, sciatica describes symptoms of pain felt in the lower back, extending down through the glutes and thigh. In some cases it can go all the way down the entire leg reaching the foot. Because there are so many possible causes of sciatica pain it can be difficult to diagnose the underlying condition or cause. As a result, it often makes more sense to take a holistic approach to relieve your sciatica and manage piriformis syndrome. (9)

What Is The Holistic Approach To Relieve Piriformis Syndrome?

It’s important to consider all of your muscles and how they work together to support your lower back. While the tennis ball can provide temporary relief, by waking up the right muscles, you can find longer term relief for your piriformis syndrome symptoms. Restoring muscle balance using the right movements is key to pain relief. (9)

The holistic approach uses movement that allows oxygen and nutrients to start the healing process. Through the right movements, you can reduce or even eliminate pain without the need for surgery, medication, months of physiotherapy or injections. When you can restore the body’s natural functional movement and muscle balance your body can start healing itself naturally. (9)

The Relief 4 Life Program

Often the holistic approach requires a self-directed treatment you adopt. Your willingness to adjust your lifestyle, or incorporate new ways of eating, moving, or exercising, contribute to your overall health and well-being. The Relief 4 Life Program provides the instructions you need to learn a sequence of eight movements designed to assist with back pain relief. The movements can be done anywhere, and anytime, making it easy to incorporate them into your day. The course provides the following: (9,10)

  • Instructional video introducing you to the sequence of movements to relieve back pain
  • Targeted coaching session videos to explain how the program works with tips on how to make the most of your learning
  • One on one coaching and support to answer your questions, and help you overcome common roadblocks that can interfere with your success
  • Support offering a personalized sequence for the movements based on your unique situation

You always have access to the support you need to learn the movements, apply them to your own situation, and enjoy the benefits of this holistic approach to long term pain relief. If you have been living with pain caused by Piriformis Syndrome and have failed to find a pain relief solution that works, the holistic approach could be the solution you need. For more information click here. (9,10)


  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/sciatica-of-all-the-nerve 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507908/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/piriformis-syndrome-causes-symptoms-treatments 
  4. https://humankinetics.me/2018/09/18/self-myofascial-release/ 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4637917/ 
  6. Meggie Jackman Bodywork Practitioner, Owner: Absolute Bodywork & Massage 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507908/ 
  8. https://minnesotaspineinstitute.com/treatments/use-tennis-ball-relieve-back-pain/
  9. https://mybackpaincoach.com/fb/bpr4l/al/sciatica-michelle/?hop=rhythmic84&vendor=mbpc84
  10. https://mybackpaincoach.com/fb/bpr4l/vsl/default/ 

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