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Piriformis Syndrome and The Athlete

Administrator May 03, 2019

We have seen several individuals coming for pain management that suffer from back and nerve pain traveling down their legs. The possible causes could be several conditions including the following:

  • Herniated disks
  • Sciatica
  • Piriformis syndrome

We find so many people with pain radiating down their legs who have been told they have sciatica, but they have piriformis syndrome instead. They have received pain medication or steroids, yet their pain persists.

Sometimes, we can fix this condition in a manner of minutes by placing a ball under their glutes and having them self-massage the glute maximus, glute medius and piriformis. In this case, the fortunate individuals did not have inflammation of the sciatic nerve (sciatica), they had piriformis syndrome.

Piriformis syndrome is nerve entrapment by a tight piriformis muscle. The sciatic nerve, on its way to the legs, passes through the area where the piriformis muscle sits. If the piriformis muscle gets too tight it can compress the sciatic nerve leading to severe pain. This is especially true for people who perform a lot of activities with the feet pointed outwards (i.e. squats).

Self-massage or Rolfing can frequently solve this problem. The muscle can be loosened up and the nerve compression can go away.

A video on how to perform self-massage on the glutes can be seen below.

If you have severe pain radiating down your legs, we suggest you ask your physician if you have piriformis syndrome. Always ask your physician prior to performing this self-massage technique or any new exercise program. provides online strength and conditioning programs, physical medicine, rehab programs, and wellness programs. We offer these programs online so that peak health, wellness, and performance are available to all.


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