- The piriformis muscle is a muscle located deep in the buttocks behind the gluteus maximus.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
- It’s role is to assist in rotating the hip and turning the leg and foot outward. The sciatic nerve runs vertically directly beneath this muscle although in some people the nerve can run through the muscle.
CAUSES OF PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME:
The EXACT causes of piriformis syndrome rate unknown but suspected causes include:
1️. Muscle spasm in the piriformis muscle either because of irritation in the muscle itself or irritation of a nearby structure eg sacroiliac joint or the hip
2️. Tightening of the muscle in response to injury or spasm
3️. Swelling of the piriformis muscle due to injury or spasm
4️. Bleeding in the area of the piriformis muscle
Any one or combination of the above problems can affect the piriformis muscle and may affect the adjacent sciatic nerve causing pain, tingling, or numbness in the back of the thigh, calf or foot.
SYMPTOMS OF PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME:
- Dull ache in the gluteal area
- Pain down the back of the thigh, calf and foot (sciatica)
- Pain when walking up stairs or inclines
- Increased pain after prolonged sitting
- Reduced range of motion of the hip joint
HOW TO TREAT:
- STRETCHING - stretching the piriformis muscle can significantly help reduce symptoms of pain and discomfort. Stretching along the hamstrings can also help to alleviate types of sciatic pain.
- MASSAGE - if you are experiencing sciatic pain, massage is one of the most effective ways of releasing the tension in the surrounding muscles of the sciatic nerve and helps to increase overall range of motion snd decreases overall pain & discomfort associated with Piriformis Syndrome.
ICE & HEAT THERAPY - on the onset of pain, lie in a comfortable position on the stomach and place an ice pack on the painful area for approximately 20 minutes - repeating every 2-4 hours alternating with heat pads.
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