The following article is not medical advice, and you should always seek medical advice from a doctor specialized in your condition. Always perform the below exercise under the supervision of a personal trainer, physical therapist, or doctor. CBD LION will not take responsibility for any injuries or damage incurred. Perform at your own risk.
11 piriformis exercises to lower back, hip, and sciatica pain
Do you know that a weak muscle often triggers lower back, hip, and sciatica pain? The piriformis muscle is often the root cause of the pain you are experiencing. This article was written to help you build up that muscle and relive that pain! This article discusses piriformis exercises and stretches that will help lower back, hip, and sciatica pain. The piriformis muscle is located deep in the buttock on the side of your body, and it is often neglected. However, when piriformis muscles weaken, they can cause many problems such as lower back pain or sciatica. This article contains 11 piriformis stretches to help alleviate any piriformis muscle related issues!
What is the piriformis muscle?
The piriformis muscle is a small muscle that helps rotate your leg inwards. It is located deep in the buttock on the side of your body and runs to the outer hip bone. It's common for this small muscle to be neglected.
The muscle is part of a group that helps with stabilizing the leg with the hip. It's responsible for balancing one leg, hip, and leg rotation and stabilizing the pelvic area.
A weak piriformis can cause hip, lower back pain, and sciatica, but piriformis muscle stretches can help alleviate any piriformis-related issues.
The leading causes of this muscle weakening are inactivity and prolonged sitting.
How does a weak piriformis trigger pain?
A weak piriformis muscle triggers pain due to the piriformis muscle not working and causing a loss of stabilization in the region.
This can lead to a variety of issues such as lower back pain or sciatica hip pain. Sciatica can result in pain for the lower back, hip, knee, ankle, and foot.
When piriformis stretches are done, the piriformis is strengthened, and any piriformis related problems should diminish with time.
Kind of pain Piriformis Triggers
Hip, lower back, and sciatic nerve pain are the three regions most closely associated with piriformis syndrome. The muscle is situated right next to the sciatic nerve, and why weak or tight piriformis muscles can cause it to compress and fire pain signals.
The best option to treat Piriformis syndrome pain is to perform home exercises to expand mobility and build strength.
If a workout fails to ease the situation, further options include cortisol injections and surgery.
To stretch for the piriformis involves quite a bit of space. You'll want an open area on the floor, free of any objects that could fall. Wear loose fitting gym clothes and have water easily accessible.
What you need
All you need is an open space for the stretches, but a few things will help you do different stretches and create a more comfortable space.
A chair with no wheels for some of the stretches
A yoga mat to do the stretches on.
Table to perform some stretches.
Again these are optional and only needed for a few stretches.
Below are 11 detailed stretches to help build mobility and strengthen the piriformis muscle. These stretches may cause some discomfort in tight muscles but should never cause pain if they immediately stop and seek help.
Supine piriformis stretch
Lay on your back with your legs flat.
Pull one leg up, bending the knee to halfway towards your buttocks while keeping the foot on the ground.
Pull your other leg up off the ground and place the ankle just above the knee cap on your thigh.
Next, grip the thigh of the leg on the ground, interlock your hands, and pull up. Once pulled up far enough, move your grip to the shin. This position is the stretch.
Hold for 30 seconds if possible and switch to the opposite side.
Cross-body piriformis stretch
To start, you'll be on your back with legs flat.
Lift one leg and place the foot just above the knee cap at about a 45° angle while the leg is at about a 90° angle to the hip.
Place the hand opposite of the lifted leg on the thigh just above the knee cap. This is the stretch position, try and hold for 30 seconds.
Alternate and do the opposite side once finished.
Knee to chest piriformis stretch
Start on your back with your feet on the ground with your feet on the floor halfway to your buttocks, knees pointing to the sky.
Tighten your core ab muscles and raise your knee towards the chest.
Once the knee is high enough, grab with both hands and gently pull towards the chest.
When you feel a comfortable stretch in the lower back, leg, and buttocks, you are in position. Try and hold for 30 seconds.
Alternate legs once complete.
Lying outerhip stretch
Start on your back with your legs lying flat.
Pull one leg up so the thigh is 90° to the hip and your lower leg is 90° to your thigh.
Reach over with your opposite arm and place the hand on the outside of the knee.
Pul the leg across the body, keeping the foot off the floor.
Once you feel the comfortable stretch, you are in position. Attempt to hold the position for 30 seconds.
Once complete, switch to the opposite leg.
Standing Hip Extension
Stand up straight to start. Really focus on avoiding bending over to extend the stretch.
Aim your toes up on the leg we will be performing the extension on.
Move the leg back till the foot is off the ground and do little kicks backward. Remember to keep the upper body straight.
Do not force the leg too far back.
Repeat 15 times, then alternate legs.
Standing piriformis stretch
Note: This stretch requires a table at a height just below the waist. Do not perform this stretch if you are a fall risk.
Start standing up in front of a table.
Lift leg and rotate it 90° and place on the table. The position has your thigh perpendicular to the waist and with your lower leg at about a 45° angle to your thigh.
Slowly bend at the waist forward till you feel the comfortable stretch.
Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with the other leg.
Hip rotator stretch
You will begin by laying flat on your back. Pull one leg off the ground while keeping your buttocks on the floor.
Reach with the opposite arm and grab the knee.
Place the lifted leg's side hand on the thigh with the thumb pointed out on the waist. Use this hand to keep the buttocks on the ground.
Gently pull the knee forward to the opposite shoulder.
When you feel the comfortable stretch, hold for 30 seconds. Then alternate sides.
Chair sit and bend stretch (seated stretch)
Note: This exercise requires a chair
Sitting in a chair, have your legs a little wider than shoulder-width. Make sure your feet touch the ground.
Put your hands together and reach down towards the ground behind the heels.
When you feel the comfortable stretch, hold for 10 seconds.
Repeat this motion three times.
On this exercise, we will begin on our side, lying down. Support the head with the arm that is touching the ground.
Next, we want our legs bent at 45° angles at the hips and lower legs 45° from the thighs.
Rotate the top leg up while pushing the bottom leg down. Make sure the body stays stable throughout the movement and knees align at all times.
Repeat 15 times and then alternate sides.
Hip adductor stretch
On this stretch, start in a crawl position on your hands and knees.
Slowly move your knees out to about a 45° angle.
Next, move from your hands down to your elbows and forearms.
Slowly rotate your hips back while keeping the spine straight.
Once you feel the comfortable stretch try to hold for 30 seconds.
Short adductor stretch
Start in a sitting position. It may help to be sitting against the wall to keep your back and chest straight.
Bright the feet together, grab each ankle and slowly pull in toward you till your elbows touch your legs. Make sure your knees bend in comfortably.
Slowly push your elbows down until you feel the comfortable stretch. Try to hold for 30 seconds, repeat three times.
Typical time frame to see results
The question most people have is how long it will take to see sciatic nerve pain relief. Some people can begin seeing relief right away, and for others, it may take months of consistent physical therapy. Each person's health is different, making broad estimates difficult.
Many different things can cause sciatic nerve pain, and piriformis stretches may not be effective. It is essential to perform these exercises to see if you can avoid further intervention.
How to help your body recover from exercise
Rest and diet are just as important as the exercises themselves. To build strength in the muscle, the piriformis stretches create micro-tears. To properly heal these microtears in the muscle, the body needs the right ingredients. Eating enough protein and healthy vegetables will allow the body to recover faster. Faster recovery will enable you to work out more frequently and build up the piriformis.
Next, you want to make sure to get a consistent 8 hours of sleep.
Following these two steps will ensure a quicker recovery.
Other ways to get relief
Some additional ways to relieve the piriformis syndrome are acupuncture, avoiding prolonged sitting, and heat therapy. Make sure to seek these treatments from an experienced professional.
Using CBD to help
While the jury is still out on the science behind CBD, early studies point to potential benefits of pain and inflammation relief. There is also a lot of antidotal reports of good results.
It's always wise to go the natural route first with exercise. Staying off opioid pain killers should be a priority for anyone suffering from chronic pain. They have some nasty addictive properties and can damage your health.
While CBD may or may not work for you, it is a natural alternative worth considering.
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