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Massage For Sciatica And Sciatic Nerve Pain

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a severe pain in the leg, usually the back of the leg, caused by compression or irritation of the nerve roots exiting the spine that form the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerves are the largest and longest nerves of the body, reaching about the size of your pinky or forefinger in diameter, formed by four or five nerve roots branching off each side of the spinal cord and down the back of each leg.

There are a number of reasons the sciatic nerve could become compressed, entrapped, or irritated. In "true" sciatica displaced spinal vertebrae, and herniated or degenerated lumbar spinal disc(s) are structures which can compress the nerve roots and cause irritation. Each of these can be caused by or made worse by abnormally tight or adhered tissues in the area including muscles, and fascia. Other reasons this can occur include postural issues such as having a "long leg", or a pelvic tilt.

There are also conditions which might mimic sciatica and be called "false" sciatica such as Piriformis Syndrome where the sciatic nerve is entrapped by the piriformis muscle in the buttocks area. Piriformis Syndrome is also called "back pocket sciatica" because pressure on the piriformis muscle and sciatic nerve can be caused by sitting on a wallet in the back pocket of a person's pants. Another problem that can mimic sciatic pain is having trigger points in the Gluteus Minimus muscle. The trigger points in this muscle can refer pain sensations down the back of the leg along the path of the sciatic nerve and also on the outside of the leg. Massage therapy and bodywork are very beneficial in relieving symptoms and promoting recovery.

Massage Therapy and Bodywork for Sciatica

Massage Therapy and Bodywork can help Sciatica, Sciatic Nerve Pain, and conditions which mimic sciatica. Massage therapy can help relax muscles, release trigger points and abnormal tissue adhesions, and improve posture to relieve the pressure on nerve roots and other sensitive structures.

Depending on your individual condition, massage therapy and bodywork may provide significant long-lasting relief.

Other Treatments

Essential Oil therapy may assist in relieving pain associated with sciatica.

Other Manual treatments (including physical therapy, osteopathic, or chiropractic treatments) can help relieve the pressure. Chiropractic and Osteopathic techniques are often used in conjunction with treatment by a Massage Therapist.

Medical treatments (such as NSAID’s, oral steroids, or epidural steroid injections) are used to help relieve inflammation if present.

Surgery (such as microdiscectomy or lumbar laminectomy) to help relieve both the pressure and inflammation may be warranted if the pain is severe and has not been relieved with appropriate manual or medical treatments.


The information in this article has been provided for information purposes only. It is not meant to provide a medical diagnosis, only a licensed physician may diagnose Sciatica. If you feel that you have the symptoms of Sciatica please see your physician for a proper diagnosis and plan of treatment which may include massage therapy and bodywork. Sciatica can be a very serious condition requiring medical attention.

If, after consulting your physician, you would like to pursue treatment of symptoms attributed to Sciatica with Massage Therapy and Bodywork please contact me at my San Antonio Massage and Bodywork practice, Massage By Ben, at 210-269-3314.


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