A pain in the butt??

Implementing fitness into your lifestyle promotes healthy adaptations, but remember proper body mechanics need to be  implemented during each workout for injury prevention.  Learn how bad form, not balancing your muscle groups with exercise, and inadequate stretching can allow some injuries to occur.   As an example of why it’s important to follow good lifting principals is the potential cause of piriformis syndrome – a pain in the buttocks, hamstrings, and lower back pain.

Often times as a trainer I find clients or friends who struggle with deep hip pain, a tingling sensation down the leg (hamstring), and lower back pain.  These symptoms can be diagnosed as sciatica.  The sciatic nerve begins in the lower back and travels down the leg.  It is the longest and widest single nerve in the body.  Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is generally compressed.  One of the muscles associated with compressing the sciatic nerve is the piriformis.

Anatomy:

The Piriformis muscles originates from the sacral spine and attaches to the greater trochanter of the femur, functioning as both an external rotator and abductor of the thigh.

What is pirformis syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome causes spasming and tightening of the piriformis muscle, causing symptoms associated with sciatica, considering the sciatic nerve runs close or through the pirformis muscle.

Symptoms:
1) Deep pain or numbness in the buttocks
2) Can also cause a tingling in the lower back and a pain into the hamstring

Also look for these associated bio-mechanical deficits:
1) Tight piriformis muscle
2) Tight hip external rotators and adductors
3) Hip abductor weakness
4) Decreased lower lumbar spine mobility
5) Sacroiliac joint inflammation

Causes of piriformis syndrome can be associated by working out on hard surfaces, uneven terrain, standing with to much weight on one leg, worn out shoes, walking or running with toes pointed out, excessive hill running, poor stair climbing techniques.

Treatment:
Stretching and massage

Stretch:A similar stretch can be done sitting in a a chair while leaning over you hip.

Prevention:
1) Sit properly
2) Correct posture – weight evenly distributed
3) Good shoes
4) Proper warm-up before any physical activity
5) Strengthen the hip, glutes, low back, upper thighs

References
1.  Jeffrey S. Harrison. Piriformis syndrome – A real pain in the butt. In ACSM Certified News; April – June 2010, Volume 20; issue 2

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