A painful pulling in the buttocks, maybe even down to the back of the thigh, so that you can no longer sit. Does this sound familiar to you? Many people are familiar with these symptoms, which are often falsely attributed to herniated discs. But the intervertebral discs do not have to be the cause of these complaints. Instead, in most cases a small muscle is responsible for the annoyance. Also known as the Piriformis Syndrome.

We will explain more about this to you now!

Piriformis and Ischiadicus

The muscle we are talking about today starts on the inside of the sacrum and then moves across to the thigh. Directly below it runs the sciatic nerve, which runs down into the leg. This position favors problems between the two structures.

If the piriformis muscle changes its tone, for example because it is unilaterally stressed by constant sitting, the sciatic nerve is quickly compressed. So, when the muscle cramps, it presses on the nerve behind it. The basic conditions are given to the occurring of the Piriformis Syndrome.

The sciatic nerve reacts to this very quickly and very clearly, because such an important structure in the human body does not tolerate any major stimuli. It therefore makes itself felt by means of pulling pain. At the beginning, this pain tends to remain in the buttocks or in the lower back, but it can quickly go into the leg and possibly down to the feet. Sensitive changes like tingling or numbness are also possible symptoms. This is also the reason why many patients first think of damage to the intervertebral discs.

Important: if you have unclear symptoms or numbness, please consult a doctor or therapist to clarify the cause!

How do the symptoms occur?

As so often a cause lies in our daily lack of exercise. Sitting activities are constantly increasing and the compensatory movement is missing in many people. As a result, the muscles and the fascial network are not moved sufficiently and lose their ability to shift. (No, they do not shorten!) The piriformis loses flexibility and thickens in its contracted position. As a result, it constricts the point where the ischiadicus nerve passes through.

By the way, in this article we have explained why we do not talk about shortening: Can a muscle be too short?

But even long, monotonous strains can lead to the discomfort. Runners, for example, who are constantly engaged in repetitive movements, are often affected.

Tensions or adhesions occur within the myofascial network. As a result, the system is no longer able to perform as usual and disorders occur.

Whenever a disorder develops in the body, it has long-term effects on the surrounding structures. The musculature of our body needs a constant change of movements and positions in order to remain permanently flexible and supple. So you have to make sure to bring variety into your everyday life or to do regular sports to compensate for this, so that your body remains vital.

How can you treat Piriformis Syndrome?

Once the pain is there, you need an effective way to eliminate it. Because the problem is unlikely to be solved by itself.

With the help of the Backrelease you can work on the tense areas. You have several possibilities. First, we recommend that you take the base plate with the larger attachment in your hand and touch your buttocks while standing. Search for the particularly painful areas. Then it depends on where the pain is greatest for you. One way to treat the pain is to position the base plate against the wall and lean against it. If you do the application in the door frame, it gives you the opportunity to regulate the pressure by pressing against the attachment. This is how you dose the intensity.

If you do not get the right place in this position, put the base on the floor. Then sit on the attachment with the affected side on top. Support yourself with your hands and feet. Now you can dose exactly how much pressure you want to apply to the painful area.

We advise you to use the pain scale to help you. If 0 is no pain and 10 is unbearable, you should work in a range of eight to nine. The pain is felt intensely, but is still bearable. Make sure that you breathe evenly, calmly and deeply while holding the pressure for about 20 – 40 seconds. Then release the pressure and repeat the process after a short break.Also look for other areas, because often there is not only one painful point that is worth treating!

Treat the area once or twice a day, then you will quickly feel an improvement!

Read more about Self Myofascial Release and how to become supple and flexible!

Laura, physiotherapist for ten years