What Is The Piriformis?
I have to admit, before I started having health issues in my forties, I didn’t know anything about this small muscle located deep in the buttock, behind the gluteus maximus. It connects the spine to the top of the femur and allows impressive flexibility in the hip region. The sciatic nerve passes underneath this muscle on its route to the posterior thigh. For some individuals, though, the sciatic nerve can actually pass right through the muscle, leading to sciatica symptoms caused by a condition known as piriformis syndrome--pain that just won’t go away (as well as poor mobility and balance).
Causes of Piriformis Syndrome
The exact causes of piriformis syndrome are unknown. Many medical professionals can’t determine a cause, so they cannot really diagnose it. Lower back pain caused by an impinged piriformis muscle accounts for 6-8% of those experiencing back pain.
The following are suspected causes of piriformis syndrome:
– Tightening of the muscle, in response to injury or spasm
– Swelling of the piriformis muscle, due to injury or spasm
– Irritation in the piriformis muscle itself
– Irritation of a nearby structure such as the sacroiliac joint or hip – Bleeding in the area of the piriformis muscle
Any one of the above can affect the piriformis muscle, as well as the adjacent sciatic nerve. Also, a misaligned or inflamed piriformis can cause pain while sitting and when moving from sitting to standing.
This can often be alleviated by doing a stretch that releases tight piriformis muscles, and relaxes the sciatic nerve.
Constriction of the piriformis muscle can irritate the sciatic nerve because they lay in close proximity to each other. By irritating the sciatic nerve, the result is pain (either in the lower back or thigh), numbness and tingling along the back of the leg and into the foot.
Read more at “How To Get A Deep Piriformis Stretch To Get Rid of Sciatica, Hip & Lower Back Pain.” I know from experience, if your back hurts, everything hurts. Try out the deep piriformis stretches and let me know if you get relief.