Piriformis syndrome is a condition where the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve causing pain along the leg, buttock, and hip. The pain is similar to sciatica pain and is often confused with that condition. One of the key treatment options for this condition is a massage of the glutes and surrounding muscles. When the sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed from the piriformis muscle, relaxing it through massage can help alleviate that compression which will ultimately help you move around pain-free.
Massage therapy has several benefits and is used extensively to treat many muscle conditions. Most people use massage as a way to relax and unwind after a hard workout or when they feel tense. But it’s also a useful treatment for piriformis syndrome. The massage movements will loosen the tense muscles, help regain range of motion, and provide pain relief. Massage will also reduce spasming and releases endorphins which can minimize your perception of pain.
For some people, they may not be able to perform self-massage for piriformis syndrome merely based on the location or because they can’t press hard enough. We recommend reaching out to a massage therapist who can help you achieve that deep tissue massage that you will need to reach down into the glutes and piriformis muscles.
Massage isn’t the only way to treat piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome exercises are also recommended.
The massage techniques you use for piriformis syndrome should focus on the greater trochanter area where many of your muscles attach and to the gluteus, the gluteal muscles, and upper legs. Here are specific ways you can self-massage to find relief.
A foam roller is an easy-to-use tool that works well for people with piriformis syndrome. When using your body weight, the foam roller will press deep into the soft tissue releasing pressure and trigger points. Follow along with this video for foam rolling instructions that target the hip joint, glueteal muscles, and hamstrings to help reduce hip pain
A massage ball is used to massage small areas of the body that need firm and pinpoint pressure. Many people use a massage ball or even just a tennis ball to release trigger points. Press the massage ball along your glutes, hip, and upper legs. Stop when you feel a tender spot and gently continue to press to release the trigger point. You should not feel pain and if you do avoid that area. One of the greatest benefits of a massage ball is that they are small and portable. So you can bring one along with you on vacation or even to work.
TENS unit massage uses a small device called a TENS unit that delivers electrical stimulation through adhesive patches that are applied to your body. Put these patches where you feel pain and need relief. The electrical stimulation then works by interrupting the pain signal and providing temporary relief. Use this treatment in conjunction with massage for the greatest benefit.
When you begin self-massage it can be confusing and difficult to perform. Here are our best tips for an effective massage.
Looking for more ways to relieve piriformis muscle pain? Check out this article for more solutions.
Massage therapy is an effective treatment for piriformis syndrome and can be performed in your own home, physical therapy office, or by a massage therapist. Massage releases the tense muscles that surround the sciatic nerve which can alleviate hip pain and leg pain. You can use your own hands, foam roller, or massage ball to perform the massage. Talk to your doctor if you suspect you have piriformis syndrome to learn more about the condition and how you can customize the treatment to work for your body.
Sources:Products for Hip Pain
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