This muscle sits deep in our glutes and in some people the sciatic nerve goes straight through this muscle. Essentially, if you're having symptoms, it's likely that your sciatic nerve runs directly through the piriformis muscle, and any pressure or exercise that engages that muscle creates symptoms. Movements such as deep squats, lunges, running up hills and more can create these symptoms
Piriformis Muscle Exercise
The best way to loosen up the piriformis, which sits in the middle of the glute, is by using a lacrosse ball or tennis ball. Basically, you will want to put the ball in the middle of the glute and roll back and forth searching for the most tender spot.
Once you find that spot just hang out and sit on the spot to allow the muscle time to loosen up. This muscle runs diagonally across the glute so strumming up and down the muscle will be the most effective.
In about 10% of the population, the sciatic nerve actually pierces right through the muscle and it can get very tender and sometimes actually make the symptoms worse from rolling the muscle too much. You want to be very conscious after to make sure that this is making you feel better and loosening the muscle.
Find the most painful spot, hang out for around 30 seconds to 4 minutes, and then let off and let the blood flow through there. That should start to relax that muscle quite a bit.
Most people don't do enough they just roll the piriformis muscle for maybe 10-30 seconds. You have to spend a significant amount of time on the muscle to loosen the muscle. For instance, in a treatment session in the office, we might spend 30 minutes on the piriformis or the surrounding muscles.
The technique to loosen the piriformis in the office is using an active release technique. There are a couple of ways we can use ART on the piriformis muscle.
Give us a call if you have piriformis pain that you can’t get under control. We'd love to help!