Piriformis Syndrome: Causes, prevention and how to alleviate pain
What is Piriformis Syndrome?
Piriformis Syndrome is likely something most people have never heard of but something to understand for those who have ever had sciatic nerve issues or pain in the lower body region from the nerve. It is a condition caused by the piriformis muscle spasming. This muscle is located in the glute region and will most usually irritate the sciatic nerve, which would cause more pain throughout the leg and into the foot.
What causes it?
When the piriformis muscle becomes compressed, it compresses the sciatic nerve and leads to pain, numbness and tingling. This can happen while sitting for long periods or even running. The muscle can tighten or swell from injury or irritation to cause issues.
What does the Piriformis muscle do?
The muscle itself is small and is located behind the gluteus maximus, or the butt. It helps to rotate the hip and turn the leg and foot outward. The sciatic nerve is located beneath it, thus leading to issue if it becomes compressed.
What are some symptoms?
You will feel an ache in the buttock area, pain down the thigh/foot, pain walking up inclines or stairs, reduced range of motion and pain after sitting or running for long periods.
How do I alleviate some of the pain?
Lying down on your back is quick solution that may help for a moment. For a longer term solution, specific stretching (examples explained below) should be utilized to alleviate some of the pain over time. Additionally, deep massage, heat or ice therapy for 20 minutes at a time and NSAID pain relievers may be helpful. In more severe cases, injections or electrotherapy can be used.
– Lying on your back with both knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Bring the right ankle over the left knee and pull the left thigh toward the chest. Hold the stretch from 5-30 seconds, repeat for each side.
– Lying on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Bring the right knee up to your chest, hold it with the left hand and bring it toward your left shoulder. Hold for 5-30 seconds, repeating each side.
– Start on all fours and bring one foot across and underneath the midsection of the body. Keep the other leg straight flat out behind you. Lean body over the leg bent in front and scoot the hips back. Try to lean forward to place forearms on the ground. This will likely feel like a deep stretch. Hold for 5-30 seconds, repeating each side.