Have you ever had a sharp and stabbing pain in your buttocks that can be so intense that it becomes virtually impossible to walk or do even the simplest things? Well, in most cases what you probably have is Piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome is a problem with your Piriformis muscle.
What is your Piriformis muscle and how does it cause pain in your buttocks?
Deep inside your pelvis, is a small but important muscle called the Piriformis. This muscle is an external rotator muscle for your legs and it helps you rotate your legs to one side or the other.
There is also a nerve that runs from your spine down to your feet called your Sciatic nerve. This nerve happens to run through your pelvis as well, directly below your Piriformis.
If your Piriformis becomes agitated it can constrict and irritate the Sciatic nerve causing a condition called Sciatica.
Sciatica, as you may have experienced, is a sharp stabbing or shooting pain anywhere from your lower back, buttocks, legs, or even feet. Sometimes it can manifest itself as a numb or tingling feeling as well.
So, what exactly causes Piriformis syndrome?
There are a lot of things that could cause your Piriformis to tense up and crush your Sciatic nerve, but most of them have something to do with overuse or underuse of the muscle.
If you are an athlete, there is a chance that you may push yourself too hard during your training. If you overtrain by running or doing other exercises that involve your legs, there is a good chance you may cause your Piriformis to spasm. This spasming can be the cause of the Sciatica pain you’re experiencing.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you do not get enough exercise at all you can also be putting yourself at risk. Many people with sedentary lifestyles who may work at a desk job or otherwise spend a good portion of their time sitting can develop Piriformis syndrome.
This happens because your muscles need regular exercise and if they don’t get them, they can start to shorten and contract until they become used to the sitting position as their new “normal” position. At this point they begin to store tension and can begin to clamp down on our Sciatic nerve.
What can you do to fix Piriformis syndrome?
Since Piriformis syndrome is caused by muscular tightness, the best way to fix the problem is to stretch to Piriformis muscle.
Here is one of the most effective stretches to loosen your Piriformis muscle. Sit on the floor with both feet in front of you flat on the floor so your knees are bent. If you are experiencing pain on your right side, for example, take your right leg and cross it over your left leg. The grab your right leg with your arms and hug it close to your chest. You should feel a stretching sensation in your buttocks. This is your Piriformis.
By doing regular stretches over a period of days or weeks (depending on how severe your Piriformis syndrome is), you can begin to loosen up the muscle and relax it. It is important to do these exercise regularly every day to make sure that the tension doesn’t creep back in and cause more pain.
Your Piriformis muscle is a difficult muscle to stretch. It is located deep within your hips and many people can’t think of any obvious stretches to do to help loosen up the muscle.