A Special Article by our Guest Blogger Martin of Always Fysio from the Netherlands. Be sure to check out his website www.alwaysfysio.nl
Piriformis syndrome: Treatment in 4 weeks with 3 exercises
The piriformis syndrome is a very limiting injury which can take months to recover if you don’t treat it right.
Luckily for you, we’ve found a way to treat your piriformis syndrome the right way. And we’ll learn you exactly how to do it yourself.
Your piriformis syndrome will go away!
Also I’ll try to answer the most Frequently Asked Questions about piriformis syndrome.
So keep on reading.
- What is the piriformis syndrome?
- What are piriformis syndrome symptoms?
- What causes piriformis syndrome?
- How long does piriformis syndrome last?
- How can I do a piriformis syndrome test myself?
- Which piriformis syndrome treatment can I do myself?
- What can and can’t I do with a piriformis syndrome?
- Frequently asked questions about piriformis syndrome
What is the piriformis syndrome?
The piriformis syndrome is a neurological injury. It’s caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve.
To understand the mechanism behind the piriformis syndrome, you’ll have to know the anatomy of your gluteal region.
Your sciatic nerve runs from your back through the backside of your leg all the way to your foot. It controls the muscles at the back of your leg and your foot. It also innervates the skin of your leg, so you can feel touch.
In your pelvic region, the sciatic nerve is covered by the piriformis muscle. The piriformis muscle originates from your sacrum and SI-joint. It attaches at the other side of your hip to the greater trochanter at the outer side of your tigh bone.
The function of your piriformis muscle is to rotate your leg to the outer side when you lift it behind you extended. It also abducts your leg when you lift it flexed in front of you. This means that your bodyweight shifts more to the middle. If this didn’t happen you would be out of balance and not able to walk. (foto maken van de beweging ter verduidelijking)
Piriformis syndrome is also known as “wallet sciatica” or “fat wallet syndrome,” as the condition can be caused or aggravated by sitting with a large wallet in the affected side’s rear pocket.
What are piriformis syndrome symptoms?
There are two main symptoms that can point you towards a piriformis syndrome. We’ll discuss both of them and explain why they appear.
The first and most pronounced symptom is buttocks pain. The pain is caused by overuse of your piriformis muscle. This overuse damages the muscle, causing it to tighten.
Because the piriformis muscle tightens, it puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. This nerve runs below the piriformis muscle. The pressure causes irritation of the sciatic nerve. This irritation causes a radiating pain at the back side of your leg. This pain can go down your leg as far as your calf muscle. This is the second sign you can recognize a piriformis syndrome of.
What causes piriformis syndrome?
The main cause of the piriformis syndrome is overuse of the piriformis muscle. Overuse can be caused by different activities.
Bending and getting up many times in a short period of time.
The muscles in your buttocks help you to get up after bending down, like when you work in the garden.
Imagine you’re in your garden removing the weeds. You bend over and pick up one weed at the time. After an hour or two you’ve bend and got up many times. Each time you get up, you use your piriformis muscle. So you can imagine that after two hours your piriformis muscle is used a lot.
If it’s trained regularly this is not a problem.
It’s like working out in the gym. When you do it for the first time or not very regularly, you’ll have a big chance to injury yourself during your training. But if you train four times a week, it’s very unlikely that you will get an injury.. So if your piriformis is trained well because you work in the garden all the time, it won’t be a problem. If you do it only occasionally, you’re more likely to injure yourself.
When you expect a baby you can expect a piriformis syndrome as well.
During pregnancy woman can experience the symptoms of a piriformis syndrome. This condition is called pregnancy sciatica. It’s the piriformis syndrome caused by pregnancy.
This is why it occurs:
During pregnancy woman obviously gain weight. This is of course a natural process. Unfortunately this also increases the pressure on your pelvic region.
Because of the weight, walking becomes harder. As mentioned before you use your piriformis muscle a lot when you walk. Because your weight increased, the muscle have to work harder when you walk. This causes it to tighten up and puts pressure on your sciatic nerve.
The second contributing factor is an increase of laxity in your pelvic region. To prepare your body for the birth of your baby a special hormone is produced. It’s called the relaxin hormone and its purpose is to loosen up your ligaments. These ligaments normally keep your pelvic girdle together. When you give birth the baby needs to pass the pelvic girdle.
The hormone loosens up the ligaments that keep the different parts of your pelvic region together. This increases the space for the baby to pass through. One of the consequences is that your pelvic girdle muscles need to work harder to compensate the pelvic instability. This includes the piriformis muscle. Therefore chances are that you’ll overuse it, causing tension and compression of the sciatic nerve.
Fortunately the symptoms usually disappear by itself after the baby is born.
Hip pain, a stiff hip, hip arthritis and the piriformis syndrome
A stiff hip can also be a cause for the piriformis syndrome.
As mentioned before your piriformis muscle serves many of your hip movements. When you have a stiff hip the muscle have to work harder to move your hip because of bigger resistance. His will lead to overuse of the muscle resulting in the piriformis syndrome.
One of the main reasons for developing a stiff hip is hip arthritis. This means that the cartilages in your hip joint disappears. The lack of cartilage results in less mobility of your hip joint.
This is how hip arthritis can lead to a stiff hip resulting in the piriformis syndrome and hip pain.
How long does piriformis syndrome last?
Your piriformis syndrome can last for several months if you don’t treat it the right way. However, if you use the exercises we’ll describe later, it will only last for about 4 weeks.
In some severe cases, even with the right exercises it can take months to heal. This is usually because the piriformis syndrome is an outcome of another, bigger problem. In those cases you’ll have to solve the main problem before you can cure your piriformis syndrome.
How can I do a piriformis syndrome test myself?
What you’ve learned so far is what the symptoms of the piriformis syndrome are and what the main causes are. This will give you a pretty good indication already if you’re suffering of the piriformis syndrome yourself.
If you’re not sure yet there are a few simple tests that you can do yourself to find out if you have the piriformis syndrome yourself.
These tests look very similar to the exercises that you have to do to cure your piriformis syndrome.
The first indication that you have the piriformis syndrome is a tight buttocks. You can feel your piriformis muscle at the lower part of your buttocks, close to where your leg starts. You should feel a difference between your painful side and your healthy side. At the painfull side you should feel a tender point. This feels like a little ball and it hurts when you put pressure on it. On your healthy side this ball is absent.
The second indication is when you stretch your piriformis muscle.
This is how you can stretch your piriformis muscle. In this example we’ll stretch our left piriformis muscle:
- Grab your left knee with your left hand.
- Grab your left ankle with your right hand.
- Pull your left knee toward your right shoulder.
- Pull your left ankle also towards your right shoulder.
Our friend Martin has more to share! For More Info From His Article Visit: http://www.alwaysfysio.nl/en/piriformis-syndrome-treatment/