Is your butt & leg pain Piriformis or Sciatica?
Do you have low back pain with tingling, burning or numbness
that may at times reach all the way down to your feet?
Most people will tell you that you have Sciatica. Don’t just accept that answer!
This post is about Piriformis Syndrome & very briefly discusses Sciatica pain. What’s the difference? (Scroll down to see the video we did we Mae, our massage therapist, on this issue, as well as 5 great stretches to help with the pain.)
Sciatica is more commonly diagnosed than Piriformis Syndrome, but the symptoms of the two are almost identical. Sciatica pain is typically caused from a disc herniation–spinal degeneration–in the lower lumbar area.
Where is this fancy-named muscle?
It is deep into your gluteals/butt and at the top of your hip bone.
It is one of the few conditions which causes posterior hip pain. When it is overused it becomes tight & can compress the sciatic nerve causing low back, buttocks, and radiating leg pain. This muscle does not like prolonged periods of sitting.
This syndrome may get pain relief by walking with same side of foot (where the pain in the butt is) pointing outward. This is because externally rotating the hip reduces the stretch on the piriformis and relieves the pain slightly.
Where is the pain more precisely?
- Tightness in the lower back or buttocks
- Large painful knot in the buttocks
- Burning pain in posterior legs and buttocks
- Aching lower back and/or Pain radiating down legs
- Back or buttocks discomfort while sitting
- Low back pain, buttock pain after walking or running
- Muscle imbalance, fatigue, inflexibility, soreness
As Mae discusses in the video below, Piriformis tightness or syndrome can be caused or aggravated by sitting on a large wallet in the affected side’s rear pocket. Some fitness and health care professionals call this “fat wallet syndrome” or “wallet sciatica.” Try switching to a front pocket wallet.
Who needs to stretch this muscle?
- Anyone having the pain described in the area(s) above
- People with poor or limited flexibility
- People who are sitting for extended periods
- People with high body fat, stomach, thigh girth
- People who have neck or shoulder tension (tends to go up the chain of the body)
- Inactive people who would benefit from exercise programs
- Weekend athletes (runners, cyclists, golfers, paddlers, dancers)
- ages 35 and up
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5 Great Stretches!
Hold each one for 30 seconds to 3 minutes. For true physiologically lengthening of a muscle you need to perform the stretch every day for 3 minutes for 6 weeks (for this one if both of your sides are affected that means 3 minutes on each side).