Getting To The Root Of Piriformis Syndrome

Published: 17th February 2011
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When the Piriformis muscle becomes small or inflamed it might put pressure on nerve roots in the lower back, normally called the 'sciatic nerve'. When this happens it can bring about a severely painful condition called Piriformis Syndrome. Piriformis Syndrome is regularly misdiagnosed as something else, and can be caused by either over-use or under-use of the muscle, straining the muscle, inflammation, trigger points (muscle knots), or weakness from imbalanced muscle groups.

Piriformis Syndrome is frequently overlooked and incorrectly diagnosed as 'sciatica' because of the fact that it will often cause the numbing and prickling sensation in one of or both of the legs that is regularly associated with sciatica. It's troublesome to name Piriformis Syndrome properly, but it is the central possibility when there is sciatic nerve pain without any injury to discs or the spine.

This painful condition can also be created by motionless gluteal muscles, specifically the gluteus minimus and the gluteus medius. These gluteal muscles help to rotate the leg and extend the hip. Taut hip flexors are one of the main causes for under used gluteal muscles, which is typically caused by too much sitting. This makes the piriformis and hamstring muscles work harder than they are made to, which can lead to an over-worked piriformis muscle.

If Piriformis Syndrome is induced by weak or tight muscle groups, a great treatment is to stretch whichever muscles tight, and strengthen the muscles which are feeble. This is regularly called muscle balance therapy. A well planned exercise procedure that targets muscle groups in the accurate way can reduce or eliminate the symptoms and annoyance of Piriformis Syndrome.

One more common reason for Piriformis Syndrome is trigger points, also known as muscle knots. Getting to these trigger points will often be tricky, but when you have located a trigger point it is usually quite easy to relieve. Trigger points are broken up by applying medium-hard pressure on the contracting muscle fibers that are making the 'knot'. Although, this can be very painful to do, but it generally only takes around 30 seconds of applied pressure before the trigger points break up.

This irritating condition can be resolved by finding a good massage therapist that is trained in dealing with trigger points and myofascial pain, but not all massage therapists are trained to locate and treat trigger points in this particular muscle. It can be very difficult to access the trigger points in this area, so they usually go untreated.

Another way to lower the pain of this condition is to do correct piriformis stretches to aid in lengthening the short tight muscles and limit the pressure being put on the nerve roots, which is what causes most of the pain.

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