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Piriformis Syndrome - treat with Spinal Touch
A gentle, alternative treatment for your piriformis syndromeSpinal Touch Therapy is an ideal, reliable and safe treatment for Piriformis Syndrome
What is piriformis syndrome?
Piriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder that occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated by the piriformis muscle causing pain. Tingling and numbness can occur in the buttocks, and along the path of the sciatic nerve, descending down the lower thigh and into the leg. Electrical impulses along the sciatic nerve are held up due to the piriformis squeezing the nerve against the bone of the pelvis. This causes compression, irritation and inflammation of the sciatic nerve, and pain can result.
Some things you probably didn't know about the piriformis muscle
From a therapeutic point of view, it's a devil of a muscle to get too. The piriformis muscle travels through the greater sciatic foramen, antero-laterally to the greater sciatic notch. Essentially what this means is the sciatic nerve leaves the sacrum and pelvis via the sciatic notch and down the leg, and the piriformis muscle passes out through the same hole, right next to the sciatic nerve, on its way to the greater trochanter (the top of the leg). So you can imagine what happens to the sciatic nerve when the piriformis starts to go into spasm, can't you?. Yes that's right, the muscle presses the nerve against the bone and squeezes the hell out of it until it hurts!
As if that wasn't bad enough and potentially a primary cause of your sciatica, in around 17% of the population, the sciatic nerve actually grows through the piriformis muscle. This is something that goes on in the womb, so not something you did to yourself in childhood or anything like that. When the piriformis goes into spasm then, the muscle clamps down on the nerve and pinches it off, or causes it to register pain in the buttocks and down the leg. Imagine if your sciatic nerve was a hosepipe and the electrical signal was the water. Now stand on the pipe; what happens? Right, the water slows or stops. Take your foot off and the water flows freely again. Well this is what happens when your piriformis constricts around the sciatic nerve, like a boa around it's prey. It's gonna hurt!
Secondly, when you restrict the flow of electrical signal, then the actions you can take are also restricted. The brain registers that you want to move your foot and the signal is weak or not reaching the muscles of the lower leg. So the brain creates a stronger signal, or ups the voltage as it were. A bit like when you stand on the hosepipe. The pressure on the delivery side rises and becomes stronger to force a way through. Too much residual signal causes the nerve to register pain along its path, a bit like when an electrical circuit is not working properly, it heats up until a fuse blows, or you have an electrical fire.
What causes piriformis syndrome?
The syndrome may be due to anatomical differences in the muscle-nerve relationship, or from overuse or strain. When the piriformis muscle shortens or spasms due to trauma or overuse, it can compress or strangle the sciatic nerve beneath the muscle as it passes out of the greater sciatic foramen (a hole in the pelvis). Here is a list of the nerves that also pass through the greater sciatic foramen: the superior gluteal nerve, the inferior gluteal nerve, the pudendal nerve, the sciatic nerve, the posterior femoral cutaneous nerve, the nerve to obturator internus and the nerve to quadratus femoris. This is why piriformis syndrome can result in gluteal pain, groin pain, thigh and leg pain, obturator pain and quad pain.
Piriformis syndrome can become evident following a degree of atrophy in the muscles that support it. We are all aware of how, for many of us, our working lives cause us to sit around all day, either in the office, at a computer station or driving around the country in a vehicle. The gluteal muscles are relatively inactive and can facilitate the development of piriformis syndrome. The glutes are important in both hip extension and in aiding the piriformis in external rotation of the femur. Sitting causes the hip flexors (psoas major, iliacus, and rectus femoris) to remain too short and tight, so when you stand up, the standing muscles that work in synergy with the gluteals (the hamstrings, adductor magnus, and piriformis) have to make up the very great difference and work too hard. The resulting hypertrophy of the piriformis muscle then produces the typical symptoms of piriformis syndrome, because following a large increase in size of the piriformis, sciatic nerve impingement is inevitable.
There are lots of other possible causes. Running, cycling and other athletic activities like football, rugby or hockey, can cause piriformis syndrome if athletes do not engage in lateral stretching and strengthening exercises in between sessions.
Piriformis muscle spasm can not only result in impingement of the sciatic nerve, but also the pudendal nerve. The pudendal nerve controls the muscles of the bowels and bladder, and pudendal nerve entrapment can cause tingling and numbness in the groin and saddle areas, as well as urinary and fecal incontinence.
What are the symptoms of piriformis syndrome?
Piriformis syndrome occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or pinched by the piriformis muscle. Gluteal pain may then radiate down the buttocks, the posterior thigh and the leg. The pain is exacerbated with activity, prolonged sitting, or walking.
How will I know if I have got piriformis syndrome?
The diagnosis is largely clinical and is one of exclusion, so, if you haven't got a herniated disc, facet arthropathy, spinal stenosis, or lumbar muscle strain, you may have piriformis syndrome.
What treatments will I be offered?
First options for muscle and nerve pain will normally be non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and/or muscle relaxants. Myofascial release, massage, and avoidance of contributory activities, such as running, bicycling, rowing, are often used when the tablets run out and the problem is still there. An exercise for strengthening, and a stretching regimen targeting the gluteus medius, core and hip abductor muscle groups can sometimes alleviate symptoms of piriformis syndrome within days. Also, walking with the foot on the affected side pointing outwards helps to shorten the piriformis and relieve some of the pain (this is not a long term solution).
If you decide to give Spinal Touch a try, this is one of those times when I won't just be using Spinal Touch, but another modality that compliments Spinal Touch very well, Ortho-Bionomy. My particular flavour of Ortho-Bionomy is called Bio-Stress Release. You may have heard of similar techniques like Positional Release, Strain-Counterstrain, Body Stress Release, all of which use the fundamentals of Ortho-Bionomy as their core. Basically, following the Spinal Touch session, I will use different body/leg positions to release the piriformis muscle and thus release its grip on the sciatic nerve. This is done in a gentle, non-invasive way that reminds the body of its natural ability to correct itself. This builds longevity into the treatment in order that you may be painfree for an extended period afterwards.
Why do you think Spinal Touch would be beneficial for piriformis syndrome?
The thing about piriformis syndrome is that the pain is so deep in the hip, and you can't really get a finger on it, so to speak, meaning release by massage is difficult to achieve. If you've been suffering for ages and ages, then it may be an idea for you to give Spinal Touch a try.
What we can achieve with Spinal Touch and Bio-Stress Release is a serious relaxation of the piriformis muscle around the pelvis which has the effect of releasing its grip on the sciatic nerve, and any of the others, if you have bladder, or obturator issues. This will allow the sciatic nerve to reduce the inflammation and bring the electrical impulses in the nerve down to their normal level. As tension is released in this area, all the nerves that need to exit from the greater sciatic foramen can do so without interruption. The effect of all this relaxation and strengthening and stretching is to reduce the pain felt by the patient.
Spinal Touch is a very gentle, physical, light touch therapy which is very relaxing to receive and very effective in reducing pain in stressed or damaged muscles, nerves and joints.
Click the link to learn more about Spinal Touch.
If you've tried everything else, perhaps it's time to give Spinal Touch a try. Please don't ever think there is nothing more you can do. There is always hope that taking action can make the difference. Have you tried Spinal Touch before? No? Even if everyone around you is advising you to throw tablets at your problem, remember they only MASK the pain, they don't do anything to change your state, nor do they do anything to address the cause. Allow your instinct to lead you toward a gentle physical approach. The relaxation induced postural re-alignment afforded by Spinal Touch Therapy, will help with the stress and tightness in the gluteal and lumbar area, and your inner pelvis, which will help to reduce the pain. If this idea resonates with you, and you fancy giving this a try, I invite you to visit The Haven Healing Centre in Blagdon for a private consultation and course of treatment. Click the link for appointments and a treatment price list. I look forward to welcoming you soon. Phil.
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Note: DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.
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