Deep within the hip and buttocks is a small muscle called the piriformis. When inflamed or stressed, the muscle pushes onto the sciatic nerve causing dull pain, tingling sensations and possibly numbness. This condition is known medically as piriformis syndrome.
Piriformis syndrome is usually caused by overload or biomechanical inefficiencies, so the first priority is to stop any activity that causes pain and then identify any biomechanical inefficiency that needs to be addressed (flat feet, pronation, leg length differences, etc.).
Then… piriformis syndrome is treated in the same way that most other soft tissue injuries are treated.
- Start with rest and ice for 48 to 72 hours. This will help to reduce any swelling and inflammation, which in-turn will help to reduce any pain or discomfort.
- The next phase of treatment (after the first 48 to 72 hours) involves increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the injured hip. The most common methods used to do this include ultrasound, TENS, heat and massage.
- Next, start to incorporate some very gentle range of motion exercises for the large muscle groups around your hips. The lower back, buttocks, hamstrings, quadriceps and groin are a good place to start. If you need some sample stretches, take a look at our stretching videos.
- Once the pain has been reduced and you can feel some freedom of movement returning to your hip, it’s time to move onto the rehabilitation phase of your treatment. The main aim of this phase is to regain the strength, power, endurance and flexibility of the muscles around your hip and buttocks.
To learn more about treating piriformis syndrome and hip pain, visit our comprehensive piriformis syndrome article for additional information.
Until next time; stay healthy, keep stretching and God bless.
The Stretch Coach
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