The piriformis muscle is the largest and most important of the rotator hip muscles found in the body. Located between the middle of the buttocks and the sacrum, the piriformis muscle functions by rotating the leg and foot outward. A major issue among athletes and the general public is that the sciatic nerve runs under or through the piriformis muscle.
Overworking or everyday stress on the body can cause the piriformis muscle to tighten, leading to irritation, swelling, and ultimately pinching of the sciatic nerve, known as piriformis syndrome. Once you have piriformis syndrome, you experience pain in the buttocks that travels down the leg of the affected piriformis muscle. Releasing the piriformis muscle through treatments and exercise, such as chiropractic care and physical therapy, is essential for relieving the compressed sciatic nerve.
Chiropractic care and physical therapy can relieve a tight piriformis muscle through massage and manipulation of the body. Stretching is also a good way to relieve the symptoms of piriformis syndrome. Lying on your back, bend the knee of the side where you need to release the muscle and bring it across your body, pointing the knee towards the opposite shoulder. Once you’ve done this, move the bent knee back to its starting position and placing your hands under the bent knee, bring it to your chest. This simple stretch will stretch your buttock region and stretch your piriformis. Consistency is key to achieving relief from an injury and consistent treatment followed by stretches and exercise can greatly help with your piriformis muscle pain.