A common symptom of piriformis syndrome is pain along the sciatic nerve. It is often thought that piriformis syndrome causes sciatica.
If piriformis syndrome does not involve a disc extending beyond it's usual location in the vertebral column that impinges or irritates the nerve root it is technically not sciatica.
With piriformis syndrome, it is the piriformis muscle itself that irritates the sciatic nerve and causes sciatic pain.
The piriformis is a muscle located deep in the hip that runs close to the sciatic nerve. When the piriformis muscle becomes tight or inflamed, it can cause irritation of the sciatic nerve. This irritation leads to sciatica like pain. This involves tingling and numbness that runs from the lower back, to the buttock and sometimes down the back of the leg and into the foot. The sciatic nerve passes over, under or through the piriformis muscle. So it is easy to understand why, when this muscle is tight, it can easily create pain in the sciatic nerve.
Stretching the piriformis muscle is almost always necessary to relieve the pain along the sciatic nerve and can be performed in several different positions.
A number of stretching exercises for the piriformis muscle, hamstring muscles, and hip extensor muscles may be used to help decrease the painful symptoms along the sciatic nerve and improve the patient's range of motion.
While you are lying on your back then raise up your knees with your feet still on the ground. Lift the leg on the most painful side and place the foot on the other knee and motion the knee of this foot sideways. Then take one arm through the knees and the other arm around the knee with the foot still on the floor. Pull this knee towards your chest. Do the same on the other side and then repeat again on the most painful side.
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