Your piriformis is a small muscle located deep in the buttock. It has 2 main functions depending on the position of your hip. If your hip is in extension (such as when you're standing up), the piriformis is responsible for external rotation of your femur (thigh bone). If your hip is in flexion (such as when you're sitting in a chair) then the piriformis muscle is responsible for abduction of your hip (spreading open your thighs).
Your piriformis is a small, flat muscle in your gluteal region that is pyramidal in shape. It has attachments along the lateral aspect of the sacrum and at the greater trochanter (hip bone)
Passing underneath the piriformis muscle is your sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve and its branches innervate the entire leg! That means that if your piriformis muscle is too tight, injured or dysfunctional, it may press down on the sciatic nerve and block the normal nerve function. That description is actually a condition called Piriformis Syndrome. There can be varying symptoms but pain and numbness that travels down one leg is the most common complaint.
Your piriformis can tighten up from too much walking, running and even from too much sitting! In my opinion, it's one of the most important muscles to stretch! Follow the pictures and instructions below to start stretching your piriformis!
None of the stretches shown should cause any numbness, tingling, pain or discomfort. If you feel any pain during your stretch, please stop and consult your Chiropractor, it might be time to have your spine checked. Click HERE to make an appointment.
Don't ever force the stretch. As you're reaching into the stretch, try to breathe out. As you breathe out, focus on keeping the leg on the same side as you're stretching relaxed. As the piriformis muscle relaxes, you can gently push/pull to deepen the stretch. You should find that you're able to stretch further when you relax into the stretch. It just takes a bit of mindfulness, practice and consistency to stretch properly.
Try some of these great piriformis stretches out for yourself and feel the difference it makes!
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