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5 Exercises for Piriformis Syndrome Relief

5 Exercises for Piriformis Syndrome Relief

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This content was medically reviewed by Baher S. Yanni, MD, on June 28th, 2021.

Piriformis syndrome is a disorder that causes hypertrophy — muscle enlargement — spasming or pain in the piriformis. The piriformis muscle, which is situated in the buttock area, begins at the lower spine and then connects to the top of each femur, or thighbone. It allows the hip to rotate and the leg and foot to turn outward.

Because the sciatic nerve is directly below the piriformis, this syndrome can also affect this nerve, which can cause tingling, numbness and pain throughout the posterior area of the leg and foot.

Some of the most common symptoms of piriformis syndrome include:

  • A dull ache, tenderness or pain in the buttock.
  • Decreased range of motion in the hip.
  • Pain down the back of the thigh, hamstring, calf and foot.
  • Increased pain when going up a set of stairs or inclines or after sitting for prolonged periods.

5 Piriformis Stretches You Can Do at Home

Discomfort and pain from piriformis syndrome can often be managed by exercising and stretching out the muscle. When starting, keep in mind you want to slowly and progressively stretch the muscle and gradually build up to holding each stretch for about 30 seconds. Focus on both sides of your body and stop any time a stretch causes pain.

Here are five piriformis exercises you can do at home that can help you find relief:

  1. Lie flat: Lie on your back with both your feet flat and knees bent. Then, grasp one of your knees. Slowly pull your knee toward your shoulder on the opposite side, holding the stretch for 5-30 seconds. Repeat the stretch with your other knee.
  2. Use chairs: Place two chairs opposite each other and sit down on one. Place your heel on the other chair, bend at your hips and lean forward to stretch out your thigh and hamstring. Hold the stretch and then repeat with your other leg.
  3. Use an exercise ball: Lie on your back and put one foot on a stability ball. While keeping your other foot crossed over your knee, slowly pull the ball toward you using your heel while pressing your other knee away from you. Hold and then repeat with your other foot.
  4. Form a bridge: Lie on your back, keeping your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Then, contract your core and glutes while slowly pushing your pelvis up. You want to lift it enough for your knees, hips and shoulders to align and form a “bridge.” After holding the stretch, slowly lower yourself.
  5. Form a 90-degree stretch: Lie on your back with one of your knees bent at 90 degrees and the other leg extended. Grasp your bent leg and extend your knee to create a straight line with your leg. Hold the stretch and then repeat with your other leg.

Alleviate Pain From Piriformis Syndrome at Spine Institute of America

At Spine Institute of America, our leading practitioners can help you find relief from piriformis syndrome. By formulating care plans and using the least invasive surgical procedures, we’ll help you revive your life.

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To learn more about our treatment options, schedule a consultation today.

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