Piriformis is a deep glute muscle that can cause a ton of pain in the tailbone and outer glute area . Piriformis release can be difficult with standard massage devices, which is why we prefer QL Claw as our targeted Piriformis release tool.
Scroll down to Piriformis Pain Symptoms to determine if Piriformis is causing you pain.
Piriformis Release Tutorial
Piriformis Release Placement:
Piriformis Release Video Walkthrough:
Piriformis Release Written Tutorial
Placement: Sit with the tailbone directly on the ramp (the big end) of the Claw, and let the leg fall to the side - the trigger should dig right into Piriformis. You may need to reposition or squirm around for a few seconds to find the Piriformis. You will know you are on it when you feel a very taught, tender spot in the outer buttock area.
Motion: Light motion is best for Piriformis release. Move the leg on the massage side up and down for a nice Piriformis trigger point release.
Additional Pressure 1: Cross the massage-side leg over the opposite knee in a figure-four position. Tilt the body into and away from the trigger (in a back-and-forth rocking motion) for deep, active Piriformis release.
Additional Pressure 2: From Additional Pressure 1, elevate the upper body onto the elbows. This will shift the weight that is currently on your upper back directly into the Piriformis muscle for release.
How to know you've released a trigger point: When you release a knot/trigger point, you will feel the muscle give and will simultaneously feel the device sink into your body. A massage generally feels less painful under higher pressure once a trigger point is released.
Piriformis Pain Symptoms
Piriformis Anatomy & Function:
Piriformis is a deep glute muscle that connects from the sacrum (tailbone) to the top of the femur. It lies underneath the large Gluteus Maximus muscle and causes a ton of complications when tight. The main function of the Piriformis is to rotate the leg outward as an external hip rotator . Piriformis works hard during activities with lateral movements like tennis and basketball. It is during these activities that Piriformis pain can originate due to overworking the Piriformis muscle.
Piriformis Symptoms & Pain Patterns:
Piriformis pain will typically occur at the tailbone and outer buttock regions. See the bright red region in the image below for reference.
Piriformis injuries typically originate during a high-impact activity, but become aggravated from sitting. Sitting may feel very uncomfortable, and you may not be able to sit still for consecutive minutes without pain .
Piriformis Pain Pattern (left) and Piriformis Muscle (right) 
Piriformis Syndrome occurs when the Piriformis muscle is so tight that it compresses the sciatic nerve. This can cause pain, numbness, or tingling running down the leg all the way to the foot. See a Piriformis Syndrome Test here.
Piriformis Syndrome Nerve Compression 
Signs You Need Piriformis Release
Symptom 1: Duck Feet
Duck feet (toes pointed outward) is a great sign you may have Piriformis tension that would benefit from myofascial release. The reason behind this is a tight Piriformis muscle will externally rotate the leg and point the toes outward. If you have duck feet, try Piriformis release via massage and see if your feet naturally point more straight forward.
Symptom 2: Glute & Tailbone Pain
The following pain pattern, as illustrated by Travell and Simons, displays the areas in the body where Piriformis trigger points and tightness can refer pain . The bright red areas are most prominent at the tailbone and outer glute, so if you feel a nagging pain in those areas Piriformis release may be for you.
Piriformis Trigger Point Referred Pain Pattern 
Symptom 3: Buttock Pain from Sitting
Piriformis muscle pain is typically triggered by a single high-impact event (like playing basketball for the first time in years, breaking into a sprint without warming up, etc.), but can be made chronically worse by sitting . This is due to the shortening of the Piriformis muscle that can happen when sitting in chairs, which aggravates an already tight muscle. If you sense the pain pattern above when sitting for long periods of time, Piriformis massage is definitely something you should look into.
Symptom 4: Piriformis Syndrome
Piriformis Syndrome is a gnarly phenomenon where the Piriformis muscle gets so tight that it compresses the sciatic nerve and shoots pain, numbness, and/or tingling down the leg. I already wrote an article about this topic so I will not go into too much detail here, but Piriformis release massage could be the ticket to relieving this debilitating problem.
Scroll up to see how effective QL Claw is as a Piriformis release tool!
Check out our other tutorials for releasing other low back-pain-inducing muscles below!
 Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.
 Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.