According to a TikTok by yoga instructor and coach Dakota Mays, piriformis syndrome is commonly mistaken for sciatica, and is due to a tight piriformis muscle. That’s the one that attaches to your femur and sacrum; it helps to stabilize the hip and rotate and abduct the thigh. When the muscle gets tight, it spasms, which causes pain and irritates the sciatic nerve. (Do note that if you’re experiencing sharp nerve pain, tingling, a pins-and-needles sensation, or electric shock sensations, you should first consult your physician to make sure your spine and nerves are healthy. This is particularly true if the pain comes after an injury.)
Piriformis syndrome is relatively common, according to experts at Harvard. What causes it is very common: prolonged sitting. Other causes include climbing stairs, lifting heavy objects, and overexercising. It’s more common among women, FYI.
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be dealing with a tight piriformis muscle:
But the piriformis can be tough to locate—and to stretch! Fortunately, Mays shared a series of movements that he says “can help you massage, stretch, and strengthen your piriformis muscle. Check it out:
Mays’s flow, including a Pigeon pose forward fold (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana), can help to stretch out the muscles in the buttock and lower back area. That, in turn, will start to provide some pain relief. If you’ve been sitting too much for too long, this will feel like a welcome change from your usual position.
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