Many people who are active in fitness and athletics complain of pain caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. Though people most commonly complain that they are experiencing “sciatica,” there are actually some symptoms caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve that are not true sciatica and can be alleviated through stretching.
The path of the sciatic nerve runs though the lateral rotators which are found in the hip and glut area. The piriformis is a muscle that runs below the gluteus minimus muscle. Although the piriformis is considered to be one of the lateral rotators of the hip, its more important function is postural. It stabilizes the spine and maintains pelvic balance.
Tightness in these lateral rotators is one common factor of sciatic pain. True sciatica is typically identified by shooting and burning pain which begins in the lower lumbar and runs down the thighs. If the pain does not originate in the lower lumbar, but lower in the buttocks, it may be piriformis syndrome, which responds well to massage and stretching.
Piriformis syndrome is caused when the muscle squeezes and pinches the sciatic nerve.
To help reduce this pain through stretching, lie in a prone position. While resting the left leg on the floor, raise the right leg with the knee bent to 90 degrees. Hold the right knee in place with the right hand. Bend and raise up the left knee with the foot still on the floor and cross the right ankle over the left knee. To increase the stretch, bring the left knee up further toward the left shoulder.
At BOOTCAMP 619, we realize that total health does not just mean looking good, but feeling good. We want to make sure while making your legs look great, they feel great too!