I’m covering a myofascial release technique used to relieve pain in your hips buttock and lower back. There are several muscle tissues that contribute to pain in these areas but today I will be covering the main culprit which is the piriformis.
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What is the Piriformis?
The Piriformis muscle’s primary function is external hip rotation and hip abduction. Overuse such as quick changes in direction during sports or under use especially sitting for long periods of time can cause trigger points to form in the piriformis.
What are the symptoms of a tight Piriformis?
A tight piriformis can lead to impingement of the Sciatic nerve the Tzadik nerve, which is a very sensitive nerve which can cause pain in the lower back, the hips and the glutes.
Where is the Piriformis?
The piriformis is located deep beneath the gluteal muscles between the sacrum and the greater trochanter. It is not the easiest to find, but is usually tender once you do find it.
To locate this trigger point, trace a line between your hip joint and the sacrum, you will find the Prioformus about midway between the two. It’s quite a bit lower than the Glute Medius was and it’s pretty deep.
Piriformis Myofascial Release Technique
So, let’s get started on how to release this trigger point with a lacrosse ball (if you do not already have one, click here to buy our Lacrosse Ball on Amazon).
Once you have located the Piriformis, half-way between your hip and sacrum, settle the lacrosse ball under it as we did with the Gluteus Medius release. You should know when you find the right spot as it is usually tender.
Once you find the tender spot, put some pressure on it for about a minute. Once it loosens up, go a little more toward the sacrum or hip and you should find a couple more trigger points around this area, just find where it’s tender and stay on those points.
Make sure you keep your shoulders back as you do this, you want to keep good posture throughout your releases.
Once you have explored this area and released the trigger points you also want to stretch it out. To stretch the piriformis, there are three stretches that really lengthen that muscle tissue.
The Figure 4 Stretch
In the first stretch is called the figure 4. With this stretch, begin with your knees bent you’re going to place one ankle over the opposite knee and bring your hips or your butt toward your heels or your heels toward your butt.
The goal is for this leg to be straight across sometimes when people are inflexible it’s more like this the goal is to get your heel as close to your butt as possible and keep that leg straight also make sure that you’re not rounding and slumping your shoulders keep your shoulder blades retracted
The Prone Pigeon Stretch
The next stretch I will cover is called a pigeon stretch. You start this stretch with your shin flush with the ground and you’re going to bring that back leg behind you toes on the ground toes pointed. From here, reach forward and relax into the stretch, making sure your hips are square. Take long, slow breaths and as you breathe out, try to let your body sink further into the stretch.
The Bench Pigeon Stretch
For those of you that aren’t very flexible, this stretch can be difficult on the ground. So if you find it tough, or want a different angle, you can do it on the bench. First, place your shin on to the bench dropping that back knee down to the ground, making sure you begin with your hips square. Keeping your leg as straight as possible, reach out and lean forward.
As you do this, retract your shoulder blades and relax. Use your out breaths to sink that little bit further into the stretch each time.
I highly recommend doing the release before the stretch. Pre-workout, the release can be done without the stretch but if you’d like to it after the workout, make sure you do the release followed by the stretch.
To cover all the trigger points will usually take about five minutes each side, but this may be longer when you start. As far as the stretching goes, you want to hold that for about twenty to thirty seconds.