What is Piriformis Syndrome?
Piriformis syndrome is caused by the shortening or contraction of the piriformis muscle, which then compresses the sciatic nerve.
The sciatic nerve controls motor and sensory function in the muscles and skin of the back of your thighs, most of your legs, and your feet. When the sciatic nerve is compressed, you might feel pain down the back of one thigh into your calf, or even into the sole of your foot. You might also have numbness in your foot.
The piriformis muscle is located in the gluteal region and is one of the three muscles that help with hip movement. Increased tension in the piriformis can displace the sacroiliac joint, which then forms trigger points in the piriformis muscle. These trigger points cause the piriformis muscle to shorten and contract, compressing the sciatic nerve.
How can massage therapy help?
Massage therapies address the low back, gluteal muscles, and leg muscles. First, the muscles are warmed up with lighter massage techniques. Then, the fascial restrictions can be treated. After that, your therapist will use trigger point therapy and stretching techniques to release the tension in the piriformis muscle and the compression of the sciatic nerve.
We recommend that you receive treatments twice a week for a few weeks, then once a week for four to six weeks. Following this plan, patient recovery is usually very good. Home care is also an important factor in your recovery. Your therapist can give you advice on the best stretches and exercises for your particular concerns.
Authored by Weronika Sus
Registered Massage Therapist