Piriformis Syndrome: Avoid Self Help Stretching and Techniques
Piriformis syndrome is a painful condition that causes pain, literally in the buttocks, which then tends to transfer down the legs. It is often caused by sitting on a hard surface for too long; cycling can be a cause, or if someone has to drive a long way and their driving seat is too hard etc, piriformis can result.
It can also be caused by someone being overweight, or even in some instances, wearing clothes that are too tight. The final most common cause is some kind of trauma or injury to the bottom/buttocks.
The internet seems to be awash with self help remedies and complex stretching exercises, or even rollers, heat pads or cool packs that can be used to self-treat piriformis syndropme.
However, this is not always a good idea and there are times when it may be a positively bad idea, because you need to be sure that the condition you have is indeed piriformis and not sciatica. Moreover there are some more complex conditions that can mimic the symptoms of piriformis and using stretching techniques with which you are not fully familiar may exacerbate any underlying condition.
The Piriformis Muscle And Sciatic Nerve
The piriformis is a small muscle that plays a big role in helping the hip joint to turn and it runs behind the hip joint itself. But here is the key to piriformis; the tendon and the piriformis muscle itself are closely linked to the sciatic nerve, and when something stresses or places tension on the sciatic nerve, then pain is the result and given that the sciatic nerve is the biggest nerve in the body, this can mean major pain.
But at this stage, it is very difficult to tell if the patient has sciatica, piriformis or something else! Thus self-diagnosing via the internet and then utilising stretching exercises or very complex ‘self help’ techniques to treat piriformis when in fact the condition could be something else, is simply not advisable.
Stretching Has To Be Done Correctly
In order to treat piriformis with stretches or physiotherapy exercises, it is vital that the correct stretches are used and the stretches have to be undertaken correctly. Although many of the internet stretches are bona fide and can be beneficial to people with piriformis, if they are done correctly, but that in itself is an issue.
Through using the internet, with its ‘one stretch helps everyone’ it can be very difficult to ascertain the exact stretching methods required. There is simply no ‘one stretch’ suits all, or else there would be no need for patients to seek specialised medical assistance to treat the condition!
What any patient with piriformis needs is to be taught individual exercises by a qualified physiotherapist, after a clinical medical diagnosis has been made. This will ensure that the patient receives treatment that will not only help the condition, but because the stretches are done correctly the condition (or any underlying condition) will not be exacerbated by poor stretching techniques.