Piriformis-By Charles Alexander, PT, DPT
by ksumner, August 14, 2020
Pain In My Butt
Pain in the buttock area can come from several sources but one of the most common issues is due to what is called piriformis syndrome. With increasing time on the computer or in front of the television with recent lifestyle changes due to COVID-19 leads to increased time of compression of the muscles of the buttock.
Piriformis syndrome can be due to either macrotrauma or microtraumas which results in tightness, inflammation, or injury to a muscle called the piriformis. Depending on the severity or compression of the sciatic nerve it is possible to have burning and tingling down the buttock and leg. The lifetime prevalence of piriformis syndrome in one’s life is 40%.
Treatment for piriformis ranges based on the individual severity but will typically include stretching the piriformis, strengthening the buttock muscles, manual treatment to loosen soft tissue restrictions, and correction of possible contributing/aggravating activities. Common stretches that are implemented include: supine piriformis stretch, seated figure four or supine figure four, and pigeon stretch.
This depiction is a good way to stretch while in a seated position. However if the symptoms are too aggravated it may be beneficial to be laying on your back and pulling the knee to the opposite shoulder until you feel a good stretch in the buttock area. Try to hold for 30 seconds for 3 sets.
Seated figure four stretch: Bring your foot to the top of your leg and gently push your knee down until you feel a stretch in your hip. Hold for 30 seconds for 3 sets.
Pigeon Pose: Several variations of this stretch but the one being demonstrated is a more aggressive stretch. Gently cross one leg in front of you and rock back with the other leg straight until you feel a good stretch in the buttock area. Hold for 30 second for 3 sets.
If you are interested in a physical therapy session do not hesitate to ask or call (530) 226-9242. You do not need a referral from your doctor.
- Boyajian-O’Neill, L. A., McClain, R. L., Coleman, M. K., & Thomas, P. P. (2008, November 1). Diagnosis and Management of Piriformis Syndrome: An Osteopathic Approach. Retrieved from https://jaoa.org/article.aspx?articleid=2093614
- Frymoyer JW. Lumbar disk disease: Epidemiology. Instr Course Lect. 1992; 217-223
- Wong, M. (2010). Pocket Orthopaedics: Evidence-Based Survival Guide. Burlington, MA. Jones and Barlett Learning.