Piriformis Syndrome/Sciatica/A pain in the ass!
Sciatica is an umbrella term for pain in the lower back and pain radiating from deep in the hips and down the back of the leg.
In a lot of cases, it is the piriformis muscle that is the culprit. This tiny muscle is located deep in the hips and it’s main action is to externally rotate your upper leg outwards. When this muscle is tight, it presses on the sciatic nerve, resulting in tingling and discomfort down the leg.
A lot of presentations in clinic with piriformis syndrome, the piriformis muscle is weak. A tight muscle can be either weak or strong. Overactive or underactive. A underactive muscle tightens up because the body wants to protect something. If it doesn’t tighten up, it could result in the joint or what ever structure it is connected to to become loose. Not a good idea! An overactive muscle is tight because it is working too hard.
In clinic, many of the clients that present with piriformis syndrome have an overactive adductor (inner thigh muscles) and this muscle imbalance results in the discomfort in the hip as the weak piriformis muscle is trying hard to maintain integrity of the hip joint.
Other presentations also include a tight and overactive piriformis with an underactive bum (glute max). Both muscles extend the hip, so if the glutes are not working well, it leaves the piriformis to pick up the slack as well as performing its own function.
In both cases the piriformis was tight.
Not a simple case of sitting on a tennis ball or foam roller. The important bit is to find out why it is tight. Knowing why will provide the best treatment and outcome. Stretching it and rolling it out will feel good and offer temporary benefits. But if it’s not the right approach, you could end up with the pain and the cycle continues.
If you are unsure or in any doubt, contact me to book in your FREE 30 consultation or seek advice from a qualified professional.
“Stay strong, stay healthy”