In this post, I want to help you heal from piriformis syndrome as quickly as possible without wasting months or years doing the same generic stretches and exercises that don’t work.
7 Years ago when I was diagnosed with piriformis syndrome, I remember spending hours online reading medical articles, watching videos, and trying everything under the sun to get some relief…
The pain started out of nowhere and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I could fill out this whole page with how many treatments I’ve tried, and how many therapists, doctors, specialists, and chiropractors I visited.
And nothing worked.
I was lost in Information overload and following ‘common wisdom’ that didn’t lead me anywhere.
Now, I’ve been flare-up free and pain-free for a few years, and I’ve helped so many women break free from piriformis syndrome as well. It is my hope that this blog post will cover everything you need to know about it and will give you some new ideas and insights.
I’m going to keep this post as concise as possible, but allow for about 5-10 minutes to fully digest the ideas here...so grab a cup of tea (how about some turmeric tea :)…it’s packed with anti-inflammatory properties), and let’s dive in.
PS: I’ve also created A FREE REPORT to supplement this post. You’ll have an organized list of things to do without having to go back to this post. In addition to resources, links, and tools to help you.
If you prefer to listen…I just created this video specifically for this post. Otherwise, keep scrolling to read the written version of the video:
Piriformis Syndrome Test, Diagnosis, and Causes
So you’re most likely here because you’ve recently been diagnosed with piriformis syndrome, or you’ve been searching “pain in the butt” on Google and piriformis syndrome kept coming up.
What Is The Piriformis Muscle
The piriformis muscle is a deep buttock muscle. A simple google search will show you its location. It has so many important functions: it accelerates and decelerates hip external rotation, abduction, and extension.
It also stabilizes the hip and sacroiliac joints. Read that again. (It’s quite disturbing to read online that some people are even considering surgery to remove this muscle. Imagine how traumatic that’d be to the body…removing a major hip stabilizer).
What Causes Piriformis Syndrome
Piriformis syndrome can have so many causes, all contributing to the muscle spasming and hurting when performing certain movements.
If you’ve done scans and you don’t have any serious disc problem, piriformis syndrome is almost always a result of lack of hip stability, weak glute muscles, flawed movement patterns, and bad postural habits.
There are other things that can also make this condition worse and slow down recovery…things like the individual’s mental wellbeing, stress, or experiencing emotional trauma. But to keep this post as short as possible, I won’t tackle these topics here. I have other blogs posts where I go in-depth about this which I’ll link below.
How To Heal From Piriformis Syndrome As Quickly As Possible
I KNOW you’re so sick and tired of this nagging pain and at this point, you just want it fixed already. I totally understand your frustration. I came to a point where I even forgot what it felt like to be pain-free.
This post is different in that it comes from experience (not just from my knowledge as a strength coach).
I’m going to outline what you can do right now to get better as fast as humanly possible. Following this process helped me get my life back after 7 years of crippling pain. It does require some focused work but it’s better than wasting years following the wrong track, wouldn’t you agree?
Find The Root Cause Of Piriformis Pain
I know you may be thinking…I already know the root cause, I have a herniated disc. Or you may not even have any clue about why you have this pain. Or like me, you suspect a million things that could be causing the pain.
Your job is to brainstorm and investigate all those causes. If you have a herniated disc (or a disc bulge), still investigate what could have caused that. How are you overloading your spine daily? and how can you avoid those pain triggers?
Because you can numb the pain all you want with drugs and injections, and mindlessly stretch every 10 minutes to get that short-term relief, but unless you put in the work to investigate what causes these flare-ups, you’ll keep getting them.
I’ve also put together a step-by-step video showing you how to find the root cause of the pain, you can watch it below. Once you watch it, scroll down to keep reading to move on to step #2
Here’s the free assessment guide mentioned in the video to help you get to the root cause of the pain – download it and go back to this post to finish reading…
Fix The Root Cause Of The Pain
Once you pinpoint those muscular imbalances, flawed movement patterns or bad postures that are causing your hips to go out of balance, and triggering the pain, your job is to focus on fixing those imbalances and avoiding the pain triggers.
Most people focus 90% of their energy into looking for quick-fixes and 10% of the time at finding the root cause. And most of it is due to them not even knowing what the root cause is or trusting their therapists to fix them – remember, you cannot delegate your health problems.
Use these services as a resource to support you in your healing journey. Ask tons of questions so they can help you find the root cause of the problem but don’t think for a second that just by going to a clinic for half an hour a week, and forgetting about how you’re moving, what you’re putting into your body and what you’re doing the rest of the week is gonna be enough.
How To Avoid Piriformis Syndrome Flare-ups
Everyone talks about what to do to fix piriformis syndrome, but barely anyone is talking about what NOT to do. I’ve made so many mistakes throughout those years. Thankfully I can now share them with you so you can avoid them and fast-track your recovery.
Some of these mistakes may surprise you because a lot of them were tips or advice I found online. I’m not saying you have to follow everything I did. I’m simply sharing my experience here:
- Not listening to my body
One of my biggest mistakes. I pushed through at the gym when my body was screaming STOP. I ignored little signals here and there because I wasn’t mindful enough back then. Once I started building a strong mind-body connection, I was able to stay pain-free for months at a time because I’d quickly know when something is off and I’d take a break before getting a flare-up.
- Overstretching. I call this Stretchnitis.
Omg, I stretched ALL the time. In fact, the reason why I stretched all the time was because I felt tight and sore all the time. But the crazy thing is the more I stretched, the worse I felt.
This was way before I started studying to become a strength coach. When I deepened my understanding about human anatomy and physiology I understood that the short-term relief I was getting was just induced by the stretch reflex and it wasn’t gonna fix the root cause of the pain.
In fact, stretching too much can create more hip imbalances when not balanced with a proper strengthening routine.
- Foam rolling my glutes.
I created a video that explains why I don’t foam roll my lower back and glutes. I use a massage ball against the wall instead to control the pressure. You can find the video here.
- Practicing high impact/plyometric exercises
I remember so many times coming home in so much pain after doing plyos at the gym. My workouts right now are very challenging but they’re super low-impact. I’d rather stay pain-free than looking cool at the gym. Wouldn’t you agree?
- Numbing the pain with drugs thinking they’ll fix the muscle.
When I was first diagnosed in 2011 I was only 21 years old and just starting university. I didn’t have a lot of knowledge about muscular-skeletal injuries or even chronic pain. I thought that strong pain-killers were gonna fix the pain. I remember taking so many I was falling asleep in class.
Are you making any of these mistakes as well? tell me in the comment section below.
Before I finish this blog post, I want to share with you some amazing tools that helped me in my healing journey. I still use these now.
The reason why I include them here is that these tools aren’t just quick-fixes, they’ll support your body in clearing inflammation, correcting posture and building a strong foundation of muscle stabilizers.