Best Stretches for Piriformis Syndrome
Piriformis Syndrome can literally be a pain-in-the-butt. To help you recover and put all of this pain behind you, we’ve collected some of the best stretches for piriformis syndrome.
The piriformis muscle is one of the deeper muscles in the hip and typically presents as pain either in the buttock or pain that radiates from the buttock into the thigh and sometimes into the lower leg.
Piriformis Syndrome can be differentiated from sciatica or a herniated disc by how far the pain radiates down the leg. Piriformis Syndrome usually does not radiate pain into the foot, unlike sciatica, where the pain is usually from the back, down the leg and into the foot and toes.
Piriformis Syndrome is an unusual cause of low back, buttock and/or posterior thigh pain due to either compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle in the hip or by tightness and muscle spasm of the piriformis muscle.
In some cases, the pain from piriformis syndrome can be very similar to sciatica or the pain from a herniated disc, however, most cases of piriformis syndrome, the pain in the leg is localized to the posterior or back of the thigh and not down the entire leg.
Often times, Piriformis Syndrome can mimic sciatica and lumbar radiculopathy, although the cause of the pain in Piriformis Syndrome is irritation of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle and not from herniation or impingement of a lumbar vertebral disc as in lumbar radiculopathy.
Piriformis Syndrome can also be confused with a hamstring strain since in many cases of proximal hamstring injuries, there is pain at the origin of the hamstrings muscle from the ischial tuberosity of the pelvis and in the buttock.
The usual treatement for Piriformis Syndrome is stretching of the piriformis muscle as well as strengthening exercises of the glutes and hip flexors.
We’ve collected some of our favorite stretches for the Piriformis muscle in the following videos.
Best Stretches for Piriformis Syndrome
We have collected some of the best stretches for piriformis syndrome to share with you below:
Standing Piriformis Stretch
This is one of the best stretches for Piriformis Syndrome. This stretch is done standing and using a table or massage table to support the upper leg. You can rest the upper leg on the table with the hip externally rotated and the knee bent. Slowly lean forward towards the leg resting on the table until you feel the stretch in the buttock. Hold the stretch for 5 to 10 seconds. If you start having pain that shoots down the back of the thigh or other issues, stop the stretch.
Prone Piriformis Stretch
Another one of our “Best Stretches for Piriformis Syndrome”:
The prone piriformis stretch is done laying flat on your back and first bringing one knee up towards your chest and then bringing the knee across the body. You should then feel the piriformis stretch in the buttock ofr the flexed leg.
Seated Piriformis Stretch
The seated piriformis stretch is a modification of the prone piriformis stretch, but done in the seated position. Bring the foot of the affected side up and rest the foot and anke on the other knee. Gently push out on the knee of the affected side. if you can’t feel much of a stretch, slightly lean forward towards the knee until you can feel the stretch in the but
Be sure to do these stretching exercises on both sides, even if you are only having symptoms on one side. Most runners have some piriformiz tightness on both sides, so the stretching can be preventative on the pain-free side as well as helping with the pain on the affected side.
Try to do these stretching exercises several times a day to help with your piriformis syndrome. Also don’t forget to add in piriformis and glute strengthening exercises as well to maintain your progress and to keep you running!
Our sports medicine experts can teach you other ways to improve your running.