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Monday, 26 January 2009

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis Syndrome
The piriformis muscle runs from the back of the femur (thigh bone) to the sacrum (base of the spine). It lies deep below the gluteal muscles of the buttocks. It assists in abducting and laterally rotating the thigh.

Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle irritates the sciatic nerve, causing pain in the buttocks and referring pain along the course of the sciatic nerve which runs down the back of the leg right down to the foot.

The sciatic nerve usually passes underneath the piriformis muscle, but in approximately 15% of the population, it travels through the muscle. This anatomical variation, as well as overuse, injuries, and tension, can result in piriformis syndrome causing inflammation of the muscle which in turn irritates the sciatic nerve.

To help relieve the pain associated with piriformis syndrome, stretching of the piriformis muscles should be performed several times a day. This can be combined with physical therapy such as Deep Tissue Massage to help reduce inflammation, release any trigger points in the muscle, and speed up healing. Using hot and cold compresses on the area can also help to reduce pain.

To stretch the piriformis muscle, lie on your back and cross the involved leg over the other. With both knees bent, place both hands together under the knee of the other leg (the lower leg), and gently pull the bottom leg toward your chest and hold both thighs closely until a stretch is felt in the buttock area. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on both sides.

The stretch outlined above and the picture were sourced from spine-health.com.

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