Having a sedentary lifestyle may be unavoidable for some people and the ramifications can lead to lower back pain, painfully tight hips, and poor health. If you found a strategy that could combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, how fast would you implement it into your daily routine?
Well, there’s a simple yet effective stretch that can help relieve lower back pain and drastically improve your health: the piriformis stretch. This stretch targets the piriformis muscle, a small muscle found deep in your butt.
Continue reading to explore the full benefits of the piriformis stretch, how to perform it correctly, and why it’s essential for alleviating lower back pain and improving hip mobility.
What Are The Types of Piriformis Stretches?
There are so many exercises to stretch the piriformis muscle:
- Standing Piriformis Stretch
- Standing Step Behind Piriformis Stretch
- Short Adductor Stretch
- Long Adductor Stretch
- Half Spinal Twist
- Supine Piriformis Stretch
- Lying Knees Side Stretch
- Knee to Chest
- Sleeping Pigeon
- Outer Hip Stretch
- Seated Piriformis Stretch
- Modified Pigeon Stretch
- Seated Piriformis Leg Cradle Stretch
- Lying Side Clam-shell
- Glute Bridge With Feet Externally Rotated
- Prone Adductor Side Stretch
- Fire Hydrant
When performing these stretches, be careful to stretch only to where it’s mildly discomforting, and not to the point of excruciating pain. If you feel unbearable pain during the stretch, stop immediately and consult a healthcare professional at your earliest convenience.
What is The Piriformis Muscle
Most individuals have never heard of the piriformis muscle but it plays a major part in causing low back pain and tight hips. Its main function is to rotate the hip externally and abduct the thigh (move it away from the body).
When the piriformis gets tight or inflamed, it can compress the sciatic nerve which adds unnecessary pressure resulting in intense pain and numbness. This pain follows the path of the sciatic nerve which runs underneath the glutes, hamstrings, and calves (piriformis syndrome).
The piriformis stretch is an effective way to alleviate the symptoms of piriformis syndrome and improve hip mobility because it lengthens those glute and hip muscles allowing the sciatic nerve to not experience such internal pressure.
Research conducted from the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies found that the piriformis stretch was efficacious in reducing piriformis tightness and improving hip range of motion in people with low back pain.
Benefits of Piriformis Stretch
There are some amazing advantages of routinely doing piriformis stretches:
- Reduces ankle and knee Pain: When the piriformis muscle becomes tight regular activities like walking can become challenging. The knees absorb additional tension causing instability within the joint. This imbalance, totally affecting our natural walking rhythm, can cause knee and ankle pain.
- Alleviates Sciatic Pain: The sciatic nerve experiences too much pressure due to tight piriformis muscles and this extra pain can make your glutes and hips numb. Also, can send shooting pain downwards to your legs. By stretching this muscle, the pressure on the sciatic nerve is decreased.
- Relieve Lower Back Pain: A tight piriformis muscle can definitely cause lower back pain. By decreasing this tightness you can relieve stress on your lower back bringing much-needed relief.
- Alleviates Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis is usually caused when the fascia (thin casing of connective tissue around organs, blood vessels, bones, nerve fibers, and muscles) on the foot becomes swollen. Someone with very tight piriformis muscles tends to apply lots of pressure on the soles of their feet. Loosening the piriformis can correct your walking mechanics thus lowering the chances of injuries like plantar fasciitis.
- Good Overall Muscular Function: Regularly performing piriformis stretches can help people move better by having a more complete range of motion in their hips and lower back.
Let’s Wrap it up
In conclusion, the piriformis stretch is a simple yet essential stretch for anyone looking to relieve lower back pain and improve hip mobility. By proactively doing piriformis stretches you can improve your overall mobility, and reduce pain and discomfort.
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No content on this site should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other licensed clinicians.
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