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10 Effective Piriformis Syndrome Exercises

Oct 19, 2015

The piriformis muscle is located in your buttocks region above your hip joint. Sometimes, strain or overuse causes it to tighten and compress the sciatic nerve that passes along it. This leads to numbness in your buttocks and a tingling pain that can extend to your thighs, calf or foot. As the soreness originates from the piriformis muscle, Piriformis syndrome is also referred to as "Deep Buttock" syndrome.

Piriformis Syndrome exercises For You

Exercises, especially stretches, are very beneficial for strengthening your piriformis muscle. However, ease off, if you experience any tenderness while doing the following exercises.

1. Hip Rotator Stretch

  • Lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet lying flat on the floor.
  • Place the ankle of the injured leg on the thigh or knee of the opposite leg.
  • Grip your thigh and gently try to pull in towards your chest, till you feel a stretch in your buttock.
  • Hold the position for 30-40 seconds and repeat it 3 times.

2. Abdominal Strengthening

  • Lie on your back, with knees bent and feet lying flat on the floor. Tighten your belly muscles.
  • Lift one knee and bring it towards your chest. Your knee should be straight above your hip joint, with your leg bent at a 90° angle.
  • Lift the other knee in the similar position. Lower your first leg to the floor. Alternate between legs for 8-10 times.

3. Hip Stretches

This is one of the easiest Piriformis syndrome exercises out there.

  • Lie on your back and bend the knee of the injured leg, while stretch the opposite leg straight.
  • If you have hurt your left knee, grip it with your right hand and pull it over your right foot towards the right side.
  • You will feel a pull in your left leg. Hold it for 30 seconds and repeat it for 3-4 times.

4. Stretch for the Long Adductor Muscles

The long adductors attach to your knee and need to be stretched for increasing muscle strength.

  • Sit on the floor with your back straight.
  • Spread your feet wide apart as far as you can stretch with your knees straightened.
  • Bend slightly forward from your hips without bending your back.
  • Hold position for 30 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.

5. Stretch for the Short Adductors

These muscles are attached above your knee near your thigh.

  • To stretch them, sit on the floor and place the soles of your feet together.
  • Hold the ankles of your feet and gently push your knees downwards with the help of your elbows. You would feel a stretch along your muscles of the inner thigh.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times.

6. Hip Extension Stretch

Among all Piriformis syndrome exercises, this will definitely relieve your discomforts.

  • Position yourself on your all fours. Slightly reduce pressure on the injured leg.
  • Keep your knee bent and lift the injured leg off the floor, moving it skywards.
  • Keep the position for 30 seconds and then come back to starting position.
  • Initially, repeat the exercise 10-15 times and then slowly increase the number.

7. Rolling of Your Glutes

  • Place a foam roller on the back of your thigh below your glutes.
  • Cross your left leg over the right thigh and bend your knee.
  • Place your hands flat behind on the floor for added support.
  • Roll your body in the forward direction, so that the roller is placed under your lower back. Roll back and forth on it.
  • Repeat the exercise on your right glutes.

8. Jump Squats

  • Place your hands behind your head and straighten your elbows, so that they are in line with your shoulders.
  • Squat down in such a way that your thighs lie parallel to the floor. Jump up as high as possible.
  • As soon as you come back on the floor, squat and jump again. You can make the exercise more challenging by using dumbbells at your sides.

9. Resistance Band Stretch

  • Take a band and tie it around your ankle with the other end tied to some fixed object near the floor.
  • Move your leg away from the body in the outward direction as far as possible.
  • Keep your knees straight and hold the position for 10-20 seconds.
  • Slowly release the leg and return it to the former position.
  • Repeat the exercise 10-15 times.

10. Clam Exercise

  • Lie on your side with your back straight and feet lying one on top of the other. Your hips should be in line with your back.
  • Bend your knees without bending your spine. Lift the top knee away from the bottom knee without lifting your ankles. The movements should arise only from your hips and not your back or pelvis.
  • Repeat it 15 times.

Other Methods of Dealing With Piriformis Syndrome

Sometimes, due to extreme pain and discomfort, you are not able to perform the Piriformis syndrome exercises. In this case, you can reduce your muscular aches by the following methods:

1. Heat

Heat therapy can help to relax your muscles, reduce muscle spasms and tightness and allow better blood flow. However, do not use this method in case of injuries or inflammation, as it can worsen the bleeding and cause swelling. Heat therapy performed before the exercises would help you perform the stretches in a better manner.

2. Massage

You can also use a good rub-down to increase blood flow and reduce the tension in the piriformis muscle. A therapist may encourage you to relax and contract the tissue, while rotating your femur bone in an inwards direction.

3. Electrotherapy

You can also use ultrasound, interferential and laser treatments for relieving pain and reducing tightness in your sinews. In ultrasound, your tendons are exposed to a very high frequency of sound waves. In the interferential technique, electric current passing by helps to relax muscles and eliminate the tenderness and aches in your body.