Piriformis Exercises & Sciatic Nerve Pain Sciatica Muscle Relief

Sciatica Symptoms – A Real Pain In The Buttocks

The interesting thing about piriformis sciatic pain (if there can be an interesting thing about pain) is that you cannot find a position that relieves the pain, and yet a simple stretch can alleviate it totally. But what is sciatica really?

A better name for sciatica would be “piriformis syndrome” named after the location of the muscle that is pressing on the sciatic nerve.

I’ve found that the large percentage of sciatic clients have contracted piriformis symptoms. It’s so logical that it amazes me that more medical professionals don’t address this sciatica muscle.

But first, here are…

Two Must Read Sciatica Pain Relief Articles

  1. 8 Steps to Pain Free Back with Non Surgical, Natural Treatments & Exercises
  2. Conquer Back and Neck Pain: Walk it Off! Reviews 7 Types of Back Pain

The Anatomy of Sciatic Nerve Pain Symptoms

SciThe sciatic nerve is actually the continuation of the spinal cord. When the cord reaches the sacrum (the flat bone
at the base of your spine) it splits in two. Each division is now called the sciatic nerve, and they head out toward the hips, and go down the backs of your legs. The complicating factor here is that the piriformis muscle originates at exactly the same point where the piriformis sciatic nerve exits the body. The area is called the Greater Sciatic Notch.

If you put your hand into the back pocket of your pants you are right on top of the piriformis. It originates on your sacrum (the big triangular bone at the base of your spine) and goes over to the hip (technically called the greater trochanter). The action of the piriformis is to turn your foot out. Charlie Chaplin’s, famous walk is an example of severe piriformis contraction. People who are most prone to piriformis syndrome are: runners, people who climb many stairs or work out on a stair climbing machine at the gym, individuals who sit for many hours at a stretch (including in a car or at a desk), and men who keep their wallets in their back pockets.

Why Sciatica Muscle Pains Occur

Both the piriformis and the sciatic nerve begin at your tailbone (coccyx). The piriformis crosses directly on top of the sciatic nerve, and this is what causes the problem. When the muscle goes into a spasm it presses down directly onto the nerve, pushing it into the bone underneath. And you get the terrible pain of sciatica.

If you get tested for nerve impingement, you will get a positive reading – because the nerve is being trapped, but by a muscle, not between bones. If you remove the muscle, you stop the pain. You need to take the pressure off the nerve.

How to Stop Sciatic Nerve Pain with a Tennis Ball

Here is a treatment that has been extremely successful in our medical practice. To do it you need a tennis ball:

  • Lie on your back on the floor (not the bed). Have your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place the tennis ball where your back pocket would be. Now gently roll onto the ball.
  • Stop each time the pain is moving toward intolerable.
  • Stay there for 30 seconds…then roll further onto the ball.
  • Do this until you are completely on the ball and you are feeling absolutely no pain. Stay there for one full minute.
  • If you feel pain during that minute, move off a bit, take a breath, and begin again.
  • You should be able to stay on the ball for one minute comfortably.

Piriformis Tennis Ball ExerciseDo this treatment every day, but remember to stay well within your own pain tolerance level. This treatment should
feel good; if it hurts, you are pressing too hard, so back off until you are at the “feels good” level.

You are in control of your treatment.

Next, Dr. Leia Melead will answer an important question regarding using the tennis ball to relieve your pain. The comment section at the bottom of the page is also packed with useful questions and answers that can help you release sciatic nerve issues.

Piriformis Exercises to Relieve Sciatica Pain

Question for Dr. Leia: Please can you explain further where to place the tennis ball? Does it start above the hip joint and roll up the body? Can this technique provide piriformis relief?

Dr. Leia’s Answer: The tennis ball should be placed under one buttock right where a back pocket of your slacks would appear. If you have a back pocket in your slacks, you can lie with your pocket directly over the ball.

You should lie on your back with your legs bent, and slowly experiment with putting light pressure on the ball. Be very careful when trying this self-help technique not to put too much pressure on the ball all at once, but to gradually roll your weight over the ball.

This should be a feel-good exercise, and not a painful one. If you experience pain immediately stop the exercise. Also, it is very important not to place the ball directly over your spinal column or back bone. The ball should be placed only on one side of the buttocks at one time.

After gently rolling over the ball on one side, you can then try using it on the other side to see if this helps. Usually people experience sciatic pain only on one side of the body, however gentle rolling and massaging can be done on both sides of the body.

I hope that this explains the technique more thoroughly. You might also want to consider having acupuncture done for your sciatic problem. Acupuncture is extremely effective in treating this condition.