Hip pain. Pain and numbness that runs down the back of the legs. Pain and tingling in the center of your butt. Pain. Pain. Pain!
If you can relate to these symptoms, chances are you’ve been suffering from piriformis syndrome on some level. The piriformis is a band-like muscle that runs diagonally from the midline base of your spine to the outer hip bone. This means that the piriformis is responsible for any hip rotation and turning of your legs and feet. It helps us walk, stabilizes our movement, and helps us maintain balance and control of movement. In short, it’s a pretty well-used muscle— and one you’ll want to protect!
So, if you’re experiencing pain when walking, in your hips, or down the back of your legs, and you think you have piriformis syndrome, what should you do?
Though the symptoms can be highly uncomfortable and seemingly constant, there are some simple, at-home methods to help get your recovery process jump-started. Today, I’ll share more about the piriformis muscle and your treatment options.
What Is The Piriformis?
With symptoms that can range slightly in location, it’s important to understand what the piriformis is to better grasp its reach within the body. The piriformis is a band-like muscle that runs diagonally from the midline base of your spine to the outer hip bone. This means that the piriformis is responsible for any hip rotation and turning of your legs and feet. It helps us walk, stabilizes our movement, and overall helps us maintain balance and control of movement. In short, it’s a pretty well-used muscle–and one you’ll want to protect!
The tricky caveat to piriformis syndrome is its placement in relation to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic is a long nerve that travels through and under the piriformis muscle. It also runs down the back of the legs, and eventually branches off within the feet, making its extension delicately intertwined with the piriformis muscle. Sounds complicated…is it?
The Significance of the Piriformis Muscle
The piriformis is a prime target for high-repetition injury. When it is overused without the proper recovery time, symptoms of piriformis syndrome can manifest in a couple of ways. The most common response is for the muscle to tighten substantially, causing compression of the sciatic nerve. This can cause highly uncomfortable spasming. Other symptoms of piriformis syndrome include pain around the outer hip bone, pain in the center of the glute, and pain that travels from the glute down the back of the leg.
Because the piriformis is in such a high-use area, it’s fairly easy to succumb to at least some form of piriformis syndrome. Extended sitting, running, and intense exercises can all lead to some level of piriformis syndrome if you’re not careful. It’s important to understand how to best take care of this muscle in order to keep movement pain-free in the long-term.
How To Prevent Piriformis Syndrome
Of course, the best way to manage piriformis syndrome is to prevent it before it begins. Though it can be difficult to completely eliminate your chances of developing piriformis syndrome, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. Once the piriformis has experienced the previous injury, it becomes much easier for piriformis syndrome to become reoccurring or even chronic.
Many instances of piriformis syndrome stem from overuse with poor form. When you’re running and exercising, be sure to practice good form and avoid uneven surfaces that may compromise your ability to hold a steady posture. Also, make sure that you have a substantial warm-up and cool-down routine to help your piriformis muscle ease in and out of intense activity.
How To Relieve Piriformis Syndrome Pain
If you find that your pain increases with certain activities or with sitting, try changing your routine to counteract these previous habits. Many have also experienced relief by using ice or occasionally even heat on the affected area.
There are also some great physical therapy exercises and stretches that, when performed regularly, can significantly help relieve the pain and discomfort that stems from piriformis syndrome. Be diligent in your use with these, and you could see real results.
How Chiropractic Can Help Piriformis Syndrome
Consistent chiropractic treatment can offer significant relief to those suffering from piriformis syndrome. Between a combination of spinal and extremity adjustments, chiropractic care can help to take the pressure of overly tight areas, realign your body, and keep your nervous system functioning properly. When your spine is out of line, it has a more difficult time communicating properly with your entire body. Adjustments can help to keep your healing process on track.
By scheduling regular chiropractic care, you can help to keep your body’s response system in tip-top shape. Your chiropractor can also help prescribe the best at-home exercises to implement to quicken your recovery time. During the initial evaluation, we will go over your symptom history in detail and construct a treatment plan that you are completely comfortable with before moving forward.