Piriformis syndrome causes pain, tingling or numbness in your buttock, hip or even down your leg. It occurs when the piriformis muscle is inflamed, tight or spasming and as a result, irritates the sciatic nerve. The Piriformis muscle is involved in various hip movements such as external rotation, abduction and extension. It also plays an important role in keeping your hips stable. A weak or tight Piriformis muscle, sitting for prolonged periods, walking, running, climbing stairs. Our aim is to ease any problematic muscle tension which will help to limit nerve irritation and should result in decreased pain levels.
Piriformis Myotherapy Treatment Your Myotherapist will perform tests to confirm that the issue is indeed the piriformis and not a lumbar disc problem. They will address any postural issues, muscle weaknesses or imbalances contributing to your pain and will prescribe suitable exercises for you to do at home that will help get you back on track. Hands on treatment may include myofascial release, dry needling, soft tissue techniques, mobilisation, cupping and stretching. Ice, heat or a combination of both may be recommended. In some cases, you may need to take a break from certain exercise if that aggravates your condition.
Piriformis Massage Treatment
Your massage therapist will work hands on to treat any areas of tenderness as well as surrounding muscles in the hip, lower back and hamstrings to ease your pain and tension. We will work within your pain tolerance and will be guided by you when finding a comfortable pressure to work with. They may include some stretching in your treatment as well as recommending some movements to incorporate at home. Please ask your therapist or our reception team if you would like some guidance on where to start with your treatment.
Piriformis Sauna Treatment
An infrared sauna session can help by warming and relaxing your muscles, improving your circulation and helping to decrease inflammation. You can try lying on your side in the sauna as this will allow you to get your piriformis up close to the heaters while at the same time avoiding any extra pressure onto the muscle. Ask your sauna host and they will be able to help get the sauna set up for you in a comfortable configuration.
At Home Exercises: Please note, these are common exercises and stretches that may help to alleviate your piriformis syndrome. They will not be suited to everyone, please consult your therapist to find the best movements for you.
Lie on your back and bend both knees so your heels are close to your buttocks. Cross your affected leg over your other knee, placing the outside of your ankle just above the knee of your opposite leg. Breathe and let the knee on your affected leg relax out to the side. You should feel a gentle stretch through your piriformis in this position. For a little more stretch, interlace your fingers behind the thigh, or over the shin of your good leg, and pull your leg in towards your chest. Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat as needed.
Lay on your side with your feet, ankles and knees together. Bend the knees to around a 45 degree angle and bring some awareness to the supporting muscles of your hips and torso. Keeping the feet together, open the top knee up towards the ceiling. Try to keep still in the upper body as you move the leg. Avoid rolling back and forward. Move slowly, with control as you bring the knee back down to the starting position. Repeat on both sides of your body to improve overall pelvic stability. Try for 3 sets of 10 reps but only if the movement is well controlled.
Glute Bridge with Resisted Hip Abduction
Loop a resistance band around both thighs, just above the knees. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Position your feet hip width apart so that there is some tension against the band. Slowly raise your hips up into a bridge, keeping the knees hip width apart and maintaining tension on the band. Control the movement slowly back down to the start position. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
Tips From a Therapist
Take regular breaks if your work requires you to sit a lot. If you need to, set some reminders in your phone to prompt you to get up and about. As always, try to enjoy a fun, active lifestyle and be sure to listen to your body when it needs a rest. You can massage your piriformis muscle at home using a foam roller or a ball about the size of a tennis ball. Using a soft ball provides a gentle massage, whereas a harder ball makes the massage more intense. Ideally, the massage should be slightly uncomfortable but shouldn't be agonizingly painful. We have a range of massage balls available to purchase in the clinic.