Are You Literally Butt Hurt?
I’m sure we all have some people in our lives (We won’t name names) that we describe as “a pain in the butt” or whatever colorful phrase you use to describe annoying people. However, we will talk about them another time.
What I want to talk about is actual pain in the butt. I can’t count the number of times that a patient has told me they have pain where the sun don’t shine.
Often times, the pain is on the left or right buttock and is accompanied by numbness, tingling or pain going into the leg. The pain can make normal activities like walking, sitting or lifting very painful and difficult.
Sooooo…. What’s Going On Back There?!
There is a small muscle in the pelvis (The bones that allow you to sit, walk, stand, twerk, you name it!) called the piriformis. You have one on each side.
The piriformis attaches to your hip bone and allows the hip to move and helps with hip joint stability.
The piriformis muscle can become irritated from lack of movement, overuse or joint misalignment. People who work at desks all day really upset the piriformis because that position does not allow the piriformis (and other muscles) to do what they were created to do, MOVE!
When the piriformis gets as upset as a child being told to go to bed, it can irritate the sciatic nerve. That is when numbness, tingling and/or pain can travel down the leg and into the foot.
The pain can become so severe that it interferes with sleep and day-to-day activities. This my friends, is called piriformis syndrome.
How To Keep A Happy Piriformis 😊
Just as communication is said to be the key to a healthy relationship, movement is the key to a keeping your piriformis from being a pain in the you-know-what. There are tons of stretching and strengthening exercises that can be done for the piriformis.
One of my favorite stretches is the Piriformis Stretch:
1. Lie on your back (I’m not talking about what you think, let’s stay focused here).
2. Bend both knees so that your feet are flat on the floor or the surface you’re lying on.
3. Keep the left foot flat on the surface.
4. Take the right ankle and place on top of the left knee (Some people feel a good stretch at this point).
5. While keeping the right ankle on your left knee, slowly lift the left foot from the table (You should feel more of a stretch than you did at #4).
6. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat up to 10 times on each side.
Happy Piriformis, Happy Life
Some functional exercises that make the piriformis happy are squats, donkey kicks and exercises that focus on hip rotation. Maintaining proper pelvic and hip alignment ensure that the piriformis is in the happiest environment and will help you avoid injuries to the loveable muscle.
Chiropractic adjustments as well as therapies in the form of massage, electric stimulation and kinesiotaping are all great options for piriformis syndrome.
If you don’t want a literal pain in your butt, pay attention to your piriformis muscle. If you’ve been sitting on your piriformis muscle for the last 6 hours binge watching Game of Thrones, get up and stretch the poor thing!
I promise, if you take care of your piriformis, it will keep you happy and free of pains in the butt. Now, as for the people in your life that are pains in the butt, it unfortunately won’t help with that.