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Sciatica & Piriformis exercises

A common symptom of piriformis syndrome is pain along the sciatic nerve, so it is often thought that piriformis syndrome causes sciatica. However, piriformis syndrome does not involve a radiculopathy - a disc extending beyond its usual location in the vertebral column that impinges or irritates the nerve root - so it is technically not sciatica. Instead, with piriformis syndrome, it is the piriformis muscle itself that irritatesthe sciatic nerve and causes sciatic pain.

The piriformis is a muscle located deep in the hip that runs in close proximity to the sciatic nerve- When the piriformis muscle become tight and/or inflammed, it can cause irritation of the sciatic nerve. This irritation leads to sciatica-like pain, tingling and numbness that run from the lower back, to the rear and sometimes down the leg and into the foot.

Stretching exercises for sciatic pain from the piriformis muscle

Stretching the piriformis muscle to is almost always necessary to relieve the pain along the sciatic nerve and can be done in several different positions. A number of stretching exercises for the piriformis muscle, hamstring muscles and hip extensor muscles may be used to help decrease the painful symptoms along the sciatic nerve and return the patient's range of motion.

Several of the stretching exercises commonly prescribed to treat sciatica symptoms from piriformis muscle problems include:

All of the piriformis stretching exercises should be held for 30 seconds and repeated 3 times.

Supine piriformis stretches:

Sciatica Exercises
Lie on the back with legs flat. Pull the affected leg up toward the chest, holding the knee with the hand on the same side of the body and grasping the ankle with the other hand. Trying to lead with the ankle, pull the knee towards the opposite ankle.
Sciatica Exercises
Lie on the floor with the affected leg crossed over the other leg at the knees and both legs bent. Gently pull the lower knee up towards the shoulder on the same side of the body.

Buttocks stretch for the piriformis:

Sciatica Exercises
Begin on all fours. Place the affected foot across and underneath the trunk of the body so that the affected knee is outside the trunk. Extend the non-affected leg straight back behind the trunk and keep the pelvis straight. Keeping the affected leg in place, scoot the hips backwards towards the floor and lean forward on the forearms.