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Sciatica is caused by compression of the main sciatic nerve that runs down the back of the leg. Stress, fear and other emotional issues impact your entire body by translating into tension and panic. When stress and other issues start to impact your musculature and posture, the sciatic nerve is often one of the first parts of the body to suffer. Tight muscles and bad posture put great strain on the major muscle groups, and the sciatic nerve is right in the middle of them, being squeezed and pulled and causing the body great pain.

Physiological Effects of Stress and Emotional Pain

The body reacts to stress physically, emotionally and mentally. Physically it can cause high blood pressure, diabetes, headaches, heart conditions and a wide variety of other problems. Emotionally it can cause depression, anxiety, and even phobias. Mentally, stress reduces that ability of the brain to overcome all of these symptoms and leads to an unfulfilled and unhappy life for stress sufferers.

Sciatica Defined

Sciatica is a condition that is actually not an illness or injury on its own. It is actually a symptom of other medical problems. It presents as pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the legs or lower back and buttocks. The sciatic nerve runs down the back of the legs and the pain or other symptom is caused by restriction or injury in the area. The restriction of the nerve is primary caused by tight or sprained muscles.

Massage and Neuromuscular Therapy

Massage and other neuromuscular therapies are valuable in high-stress lives because of their ability to reduce the effects of stress on the sciatic nerve and alleviate much of the potential pain and suffering that comes with it. Through learned techniques, a therapist can manipulate the soft tissues of the body and achieve a release of tension and stress. These therapies work best if they are used on a regular basis to consistently work against the stressful conditions.

Complementary Therapies

Additional modalities can increase the efficacy of massage for sciatic pain. Meditation and relaxation techniques help train the mind to relax and allow the stressful impact to lessen. Aromatherapy is another way to condition the brain to relax in stressful situations. Even having a scented candle on your desk at work will trigger your brain to let go of stressful thoughts and reset into a more relaxed state.


Massage does have certain contraindications that a therapist should be aware of before treating a patient. Usually accommodations and adjustments to the therapy can be made that will make treatment safe. Those with high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes or other circulatory conditions should be especially diligent in reporting these conditions to their massage therapist.