Muscle of the Month “The Piriformis”

What muscle is a real PAIN IN THE BUTT….It’s the Piriformis Muscle. Most of the time you blame your lower back or your hips when its that sneaky annoying piriformis. This muscle is found in the glute region (your butt) and attaches from the tailbone to the thigh bone…that’s why it can affect everything from the lower back, to the hips, all the way down to your poor feet!

The piriformis muscle is one of the external rotators of the hip and leg. This means that as the muscle works, it helps to turn the foot and leg outward. Problems in the piriformis muscle can cause problems with the sciatic nerve. This is because the sciatic nerve runs under (and sometimes through) the piriformis muscle on its way out of the pelvis. The piriformis muscle can squeeze and irritate the sciatic nerve in this area, leading to the symptoms of sciatica. The piriformis muscle helps turn your foot out and brings your leg up and elevates it. Having any kind of piriformis imbalance can cause problems up the base of your spine, or down the back of the legs. Often times we blame other larger muscles when we’re feeling pain or tightness when the cause is originating from one of the smaller muscles. As we always say, everything is all tied in together. Dancers experience problems with the piriformis because they constantly lift and swing their legs from side to side. Sound like something Pole Dancers do???

“The piriformis muscle and its tendon have an intimate relationship to the sciatic nerve-the largest nerve in the body-which supplies the lower extremities with motor and sensory function. Due to the nature of dance and the emphasis on hip rotation and turnout, the piriformis muscle can become tight and restricted in dancers. The proximity of the piriformis muscle to the sciatic nerve can cause pain to radiate into the buttock and lower extremity.” – Harkness Center for Dance Injury

So the next time you start to feel that lower back pain, glute pain…it just may be that sneaky piriformis. Stretching and strengthening are the best treatments for piriformis syndrome. This muscle rarely gets stretched, so a simple stretching routine can often work wonders.

Fly Gym with Ginger
Fly Gym with Ginger

BETTER YET… why not come out and try our Fly Gym Workshops with Ginger Merriman. Ginger is a Certified Fly Gym Instructor. Fly Gym is a combination of aerial yoga, pilates, suspended resistance training and aerial silks all rolled into one for an amazing suspended fitness experience. It is a completely holistic approach to exercise including mind, body and spirit. Sculpt your body in the air as you tone muscles and increase flexibility.

Fly Gym can really hit some of those problem areas while supporting the body. Join Ginger every Wednesday at 6:30pm for a FlyGym Flexibility Class. Cost $20

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