Piriformis – A real pain in the butt
I often see patients who have been misdiagnosed with Sciatica, whether it’s due to an improper assessment, no assessment or just a lack of knowledge on the issue. Yes, Sciatica is a real and serious thing, BUT not all leg pain will be Sciatica. It is very common that the Piriformis muscle is to blame for your pain. There are many factors that could be the cause of your issue, whether it’s a muscle imbalance, compensation, or postural dysfunction. Once the muscle isn’t functioning and firing properly it then begins to affect the structures around it, including the sciatic nerve. Here’s a brief article written by John Davis, head of running research at Runners Connect. If you’re noticing any of these symptoms while running, after a long day of sitting at the office (repetitive compression of glutes) or with any of your daily activities, there’s hope and I can help!
At Pro Motion Clinic I will give you a proper assessment, treatment plan, along with sending you home with the right corrective rehab so you can continue your care and maintain an optimal level of health and performance.
Courtney Hassell, RMT
Written by John Davis
It is that spasm that shoots down the back of your leg from your hip.
It is the pain that radiates down your hamstring.
It is the numbness that reminds you something is wrong.
It is the hip pain when sitting.
No matter what way you look at it, when you have piriformis pain while running, it can be very frustrating.
You can get to the point if you wonder if you will ever be able to run pain free again?
How am I going to run 26.2 miles if I cannot do my marathon training without my piriformis muscle hurting me when I run?
We have been there.
All the research in the world about piriformis syndrome symptoms, and the quest for the best piriformis stretch to ease your glute pain does not seem to be helping. Rather than looking at forums where others talk about their individual experiences for the pain in their butt muscles, how about you let us help you by looking at the science behind it, so you can understand what is going on.
For good this time.
Do you want to know why it is so important?
The piriformis is a small, relatively short, and little-known muscle buried deep within the muscle tissue in your hips.
In each hip, it runs from the back of your pelvis to the top of your femur. Because of its unique positioning, the piriformis muscle helps rotate your leg outward when your hip is extended, but rotates your leg inward and into abduction when your hip is flexed.
When running, the piriformis is most active during the “stance” phase, where your foot is planted on the ground. Here, it acts as an external rotator of the leg, but it is neither the primary nor the most powerful muscle which acts in that role.
Despite its seemingly insignificant function in the muscular support of your body while running, it plays a central role in a complicated and frustrating injury known as piriformis syndrome.
Why is Piriformis Syndrome Worse than Other Injuries?
Your piriformis is positioned immediately adjacent to the sciatic nerve, a very thick nerve which runs from the base of your spine along your glute muscles and down the back of your legs, providing the nerve signals that allow all of the muscles on the back side of your lower body to fire when needed.
Did you know this?
When the piriformis muscle is irritated, the sciatic nerve can get irritated too.
In around fifteen percent of people, the sciatic nerve actually passes through the piriformis, which, according to some researchers, leaves these individuals more susceptible to piriformis syndrome.
Classically, piriformis syndrome feels like an aching, soreness, or tightness in your butt, between the back of your pelvis (the sacrum, specifically) and the top of your femur.
Pain, tightness, tingling, weakness, or numbness can also radiate into your lower back and down the back side of your leg, through your hamstrings and calves.
Buttock pain and tightness with prolonged sitting is also a common occurrence with piriformis syndrome.
When you run, you will probably feel pain in your butt throughout the stance phase of your stride; the pain might get worse when you run fast, go up and down hills, or go around tight turns.
Piriformis syndrome is related to sciatica, a painful irritation which also involves pain, tightness, weakness, and a numb or tingling sensation than courses down from your lower back into your butt, hamstring, and calves or even feet.
This is crazy:
How the piriformis muscle and the sciatic nerve relate to piriformis syndrome and sciatica-like pain is something that even doctors and researchers can’t quite agree on.
Their interactions are complicated, as there can be many causes of buttock pain and sciatic nerve pain.
The mere existence of a “piriformis syndrome” has even been questioned, but the most current research and review papers accept that piriformis syndrome represents a real phenomenon that is responsible for buttock and lower leg pain.