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Piriformis Syndrome Treatment At Home

Piriformis Syndrome can be extremely debilitating and painful... it can make car rides, walking, and playing sports completely unenjoyable. Fortunately, Piriformis Syndrome treatment may be a few simple steps away. Piriformis Syndrome treatment at home might just be as simple as massage, stretch, strengthen.

Piriformis Syndrome Treatment At Home

What Is Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis Syndrome describes the compression of the Sciatic nerve by the Piriformis muscle, pictured below [1]. Piriformis Syndrome can feel like pain, numbness, and/or tingling down the leg all the way down to the foot [1].

Piriformis Syndrome Treatment Anatomy
Piriformis Muscle

Piriformis Syndrome Pain Mechanism

The pain and discomfort caused by Piriformis Syndrome can be traced back to trigger points and tightness in the Piriformis muscle [1]. A shortened, tightened Piriformis muscle can swell and enlarge, putting pressure on the Sciatic nerve [2]. Compression of the Sciatic nerve causes the pain, numbness, and tingling sensations felt externally.

Piriformis Syndrome Treatment At Home

Piriformis Compression Of The Sciatic Nerve [2]

Piriformis Muscle Pain Symptoms & Patterns

Since the root cause of Piriformis Syndrome is tightness and knotting of the Piriformis muscle, other predictable symptoms may be present and will help determine is Piriformis Syndrome treatment is the right route for you. The illustration below shows the pain referral chart of Piriformis muscle trigger points, as depicted by Travell & Simons [1]. The bright red regions indicate where pain caused by the Piriformis muscle can manifest. If you are experiencing pain in these areas, in addition to Sciatic nerve pain, Piriformis Syndrome treatment may be the correct course of action.
Piriformis Syndrome Treatment Diagnosis At Home
Piriformis Muscle Referred Pain Pattern [1]

Piriformis Syndrome Treatment Step 1: Massage

The first step to Piriformis Syndrome treatment is massage. The Piriformis muscle is likely chronically tight and ridden with trigger points, and an effective way to release the muscle of its constant tension is to physically dig in and break up the tissue with massage.

The massage portion of Piriformis Syndrome treatment can be done by a professional physical therapist or massage therapist, or at home with a targeted massage tool. At home you will need a lacrosse ball or a Piriformis release tool like QL Claw (a foam roller will not massage deep enough). QL Claw is extremely effective and easy to use for this purpose, check out the Piriformis release tutorials to learn more. 

Piriformis Syndrome Release Tool
Piriformis Release Using QL Claw

Piriformis Syndrome Treatment Step 2: Stretch

After ridding the Piriformis muscle of any knots, tightness, and trigger points in the previous step, it is important to stretch the Piriformis muscle in order to release its compression on the Sciatic nerve. It is important to perform the stretch portion of Piriformis Syndrome treatment after massage release, because trigger points can't be stretched [2].

To perform the stretch step of Piriformis Syndrome treatment, pull the knee across the body as shown below [2]. Pull the knee hard for a 3-5 seconds, release, and pull again for about 10 rounds. If your Piriformis has been tight for a long time, it may take a few stretch sessions for it to relax.

piriformis syndrome treatment at home stretch

Piriformis Muscle Stretch [2]

Piriformis Syndrome Treatment Step 3: Strengthen

The final step to at home Piriformis Syndrome treatment is strengthening the glute muscles. There is a good chance the Piriformis muscle tightened up due to weakness or poor endurance in the first place, so we want to strengthen the glute muscles to prevent falling back into pain in the future.

Here are a few good exercises to incorporate into your routine to strengthen the glute muscles and improve resilience to Piriformis pain:

  • Fire hydrants
  • Hip thrusts
  • Squat variations to comfort
  • Side lunges

Piriformis Syndrome Treatment: Maintenance

After a successful Piriformis Syndrome treatment, it may be beneficial to include regular stretches, massage, and strengthening movements into your routine. This can be particularly helpful in athletes and people who engage in regular exercise. Exercise can cause the Piriformis to tighten and guard, so paying attention to the Piriformis muscle in prehab and recovery can go a long way.


Read Next:

Piriformis Syndrome Test

3 Quadratus Lumborum Exercises For Bulletproofing The Low Back

Trigger Point Therapy - How And Why It Works




[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.

[2] Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.

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