A lot of people experience lower back pain, which spreads downward to the feet and limbs. This may be relieved by practicing a deep piriformis stretch that helps relax the sciatic nerve and release tight piriformis muscles.
Piriformis muscle constriction could irritate the sciatic nerve and lead to pain as they lay in close proximity to each other. In such a case, you can experience pain, tingling and numbness along the back of your leg and into your foot.
Culprits of Piriformis Syndrome
The culprits of piriformis syndrome are actually unknown. In fact, a number of doctors cannot determine a cause, which means that they may not be able to diagnose it. The piriformis is hard to detect even with modern imaging techniques.
In addition, lower back pain triggered by an impinged piriformis muscle is estimated to account for six to eight percent of people suffering from back pain.
Other culprits of piriformis syndrome include:
- Bleeding in the area of the piriformis muscle
- Irritation of a nearby structure like the sacroiliac joint
- Piriformis muscle irritation
- Swelling of the piriformis muscle because of spasm or injury
- Tightening of the muscle, in response to spasm or injury
Any of the above stated culprits can adjacent the sciatic nerve and affect the piriformis muscle.
What’s more, an inflamed or misaligned piriformis can result in pain when changing positions and while sitting.
Here Are 10 Stretches to Relieve Sciatica:
Keep in mind that over-stretching could make the condition worse. This means that gentle, light stretching is best.
You should consult your spine specialist as well as warm up your muscles before doing these stretches to prevent another injury. In order to warm up, you should climb up and down a flight of stairs slowly, or march or walk in place for several minutes before doing these stretches.
– Seated Stretch
While sitting on the floor, you should cross the right leg over the left knee. It is important to keep the back straight, while bending slightly forward. Stay in this position for about a minute and then repeat the same procedure on the other side.
– Buttocks Stretch for the Piriformis Muscle
You should lie down with the stomach on the floor. Next, place your affected foot underneath and across your body. Your affected knee should be on the outside. You should keep your pelvis straight, while extending the other leg straight back behind your body. Keep your affected leg in place, while moving the hips back toward the floor and leaning forward on your forearms. You should feel a deep stretch. Stay in this position for about half a minute and gradually return to initial position. Do three reps.
– Supine Piriformis Side Stretch
Lie down on the floor with the legs flat. Afterwards, raise the affected leg and place the affected foot on the floor outside your opposite knee. You should use your opposite hand to pull the knee of your bent leg directly across the midline of your body until you feel the stretch. Make sure you are gentle. Stay in this position for about half a minute and return to initial position. Finally, switch legs and do three reps.
– Hip Extension Exercise
Stay on all fours with the shoulders directly over the hands. Moreover, you should keep your knee bent, while raising it off the floor. Make sure that the sole of your foot moves towards the ceiling. Then, gradually lower your leg, almost back to the initial position and do fifteen reps.
– Side Lying Clam Exercise
Lie down on your side with your affected hip high. Next, bend the knees and position them forward making sure that the feet are in line with the spine. Your back should be straight and your top hip should be directly on top of the other. You should keep the ankles together, while raising your top knee away from the bottom one. You shouldn’t tilt the pelvis or move the back while practicing the stretch. Then, gradually return to initial position. Do fifteen reps.
– Short Adductor Stretch
You should sit down on the floor and then put the soles of the feet together. You can increase the stretch by applying downward pressure to the knees with the elbows. You may also want to bend the upper torso forward with a straight back for a deeper stretch. Stay in this position for about half a minute and then release. You should also flutter the legs in the same position for about half a minute.
– Long Adductor Stretch
Sit down on the floor and then stretch the legs straight out. You should tilt the upper body forward at your hips and then place the hands next to each other on the ground. Try to lean forward as well as drop the elbows to the floor until you feel the gentle stretch in your pelvis. Stay in this position for about twenty seconds and then gradually return to initial position.
– Outer Hip Piriformis Stretch
Start by lying on the back and then bend your right knee. Pull your knee over to your left side with your left hand. Make sure you keep the back on the floor until you feel the stretch in your buttocks and hip. Stay in this position for about half a minute and then repeat the same procedure on the other side.
– Standing Piriformis Stretch
In case you have trouble balancing, you should stand with the back against a wall, and then walk your feet forward about twenty-four inches. Next, position the knees over the ankles and lower the hips forty-five degrees toward the floor. Afterwards, you should lift the right foot off the floor and place the outside of the right ankle on the left knee. Make sure you keep the back straight while leaning forward and lowering the chest toward the knees. Once you feel the stretch in your glutes, you should stop. Stay in this position for up to a minute. Finally, switch legs and repeat the same procedure.
– Supine Piriformis Stretch
Start by lying on the back with the legs flat. Then, pull your affected leg toward your chest. Make sure you hold your knee with the hand on the same side of your body and grab your ankle with the other hand. Afterwards, pull your knee towards the opposite shoulder until you feel the gentle stretch. Stay in this position for about half a minute and then gradually return to initial position.