Sciatic Nerve Piriformis Syndrome (running injuries)
Jun 2, 2014
The piriformis muscle creates a real pain in the butt for many people. Repetitive actions could be the cause of all your pain. Read on to learn what a piriformis muscle is, why repetitive actions can create the pain and how to resolve these actions using natural means.
What Is a Piriformis?
The piriformis is one of the six deep external rotator muscles in the buttocks area. The sciatic nerve comes down from the spine and in a few rare cases the muscle has a double belly and the sciatic nerve goes through the middle of the heads. This syndrome creates immense pain to the individual and may require extensive measures to relieve.
Many others get sporadic pain in the butt or the hip area as they age. This pain may seem to go away at first but keeps coming back and becoming harder to relieve with each incident. We start off as a baby with 100 percent flexibility and every fall or bump accrues in our muscles over the years. The problem will never really goes away until it’s massaged out. Instead, it just builds up until the muscle is sitting at 90-100 percent contraction and is locked on that nerve.
What is Creating This Pain?
Most likely a repetitive action such as how you climb stairs or if you do a lot of sitting will create the tightness in the muscle. It, in turn, tightens around the sciatic nerve choking it, sending pain or burning down the leg. Another possibility is trauma created from falling on your butt and damaging the muscles causing them to tighten.
What Actions Cause This Pain?
How to Get Rid of Existing Pain
The first thing to try is heat and cold. If an injury has occurred within 48 hours, try the cold first. A bag of frozen peas works great and conforms really well to an injury. If it’s an older injury, apply heat to try to relieve the death grip that the piriformis has on the nerve. You should start getting relief once the muscle relaxes and starts getting a blood flow into it. The sciatic nerve pain should start to lessen at this point also.
Now is a good time to get out a tennis ball, get up against a solid wall and roll the ball around on the butt muscles until you find the hot spots. Press into the ball/wall for 20-25 seconds per spot increasing pressure by bending forward. Move the ball from the hip across the butt hitting all the sore hot spots going in toward the sacrum. You can also try this on the floor but many people have difficulty getting up after. Next, re-apply the heat or cold and rub in some liniment and let it soak into the muscle. If the muscle still does not respond get in to see a deep tissue neuromuscular massage therapist for a good massage. If that does not work head to the doctor.
By trying to figure out what action is creating the problem, you can stop aggravating the muscle and start healing. Adjusting your feet when walking, sitting and running to point in 12 o’clock position will help a lot. Apply heat to the butt because a healthy muscle does not hurt so moving all the lactic acids out of the muscle allows fresh blood to get in. Apply pressure with a tennis ball until the muscle loosens up and relaxes allowing more blood flow to the area. Reapply heat or cold and do a few squats to stretch it out. Apply some liniment to the heated, stretched muscle and relax.Taking these steps can save you significant pain and sleepless nights
The piriformis muscle assists in abducting and laterally rotating your thigh, so watch how you walk and sit, especially in the car. How you position your feet on the gas and brake pedals can truly make a world of difference especially on a long road trip. Make sure to try to keep your feet pointing straight in the 12 o’clock position when walking, sitting or running. The more your toes tend to point toward the 10 and 2 o’clock positions, the greater your chances of getting piriformis problems.
8. What is happening when my joints crack?
Our joints can crack either by force of manipulation or normal movement. Some people’s joints crack when they walk up or down stairs, other people experience involuntary popping or cracking when they move their arms or stretch their back. Still, other people manipulate the knuckles of their fingers to crack them willfully. Either way, there are a couple of explanations for what is happening when the body’s joints crack.
The joints of the body that often make a cracking or popping sound include the knuckles, the back, and neck, the knees, ankles, and elbows. Sometimes the joints crack audibly and other times you may feel it without hearing a sound. What is happening when your joints crack could be the escaping of gases or simply the movement of tendons and ligaments within the joint.
A healthy joint is comprised of bone surrounded by smooth cartilage, which is protected by a capsule lined with synovial membranes that produce fluid. This fluid contains oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide gasses. When joints crack, it could be the result of the joint capsule is rapidly stretched, which causes the formation and release of gas bubbles. The release of gas can cause the popping sound you feel and sometimes hear.In an unhealthy joint, where cartilage is rough from deterioration, the sound of joints cracking may be produced simply by friction. Similarly, even in a healthy joint, friction can cause a person’s joints to crack audibly. As the joints are compressed and expanded, the tendons can stretch out of place and then make a popping sound when they move back into their original place.
Some experts believe that wilfully or forcefully causing joints to crack is unhealthy for the joints, but others believe it causes no lasting damage. Chiropractors often manipulate certain joints to the point of cracking and some people may get relief from aching finger or neck joints when their joints crack. However, if you experience pain when your joints crack or you have to swell of the joints, you should see a physician. They may recommend medication to relieve the pain and swelling and will check for damage to ligaments, tendons, or cartilage.
15. Achilles Tendon Injury
- Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ) at AUT-Millennium, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006, Auckland, New Zealand. [email protected]
- Unitec Institute of Technology, 139 Carrington Road, Mt Albert, Auckland, 1025, New Zealand. [email protected]
- Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ) at AUT-Millennium, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006, Auckland, New Zealand.
Overuse injuries are multifactorial resulting from cumulative loading. Therefore, clear differences between normal and at-risk individuals may not be present for individual risk factors. Using a holistic measure that incorporates many of the identified risk factors, focusing on multiple joint movement patterns may give better insight into overuse injuries. Lower body stiffness may provide such a measure.
To identify how risk factors for Achilles tendon injuries influence measures of lower body stiffness.
SPORTDiscus, Web of Science, CINAHL and PubMed were searched for Achilles tendon
injury risk factors related to vertical, leg and joint stiffness in running athletes.
Increased braking force and low surface stiffness, which were clearly associated with increased risk of Achilles tendon injuries, were also found to be associated with increased lower body stiffness. High arches and increased vertical and propulsive forces were protective for Achilles tendon injuries and were also associated with increased lower body stiffness.
Risk factors for Achilles tendon injuries that had unclear associations were also investigated with the evidence trending towards an increase in leg stiffness and a decrease in ankle stiffness being detrimental to Achilles tendon health.
Few studies have investigated the link between lower body stiffness and Achilles injury. High stiffness is potentially associated with risk factors for Achilles tendon injuries although some of the evidence is controversial. Prospective injury studies are needed to confirm this relationship. Large amounts of high-intensity or high-speed work or running on soft surfaces such as sand may increase Achilles injury risk.
Coaches and clinicians working with athletes with new or reoccurring injuries should consider training practices of the athlete and recommend reducing speed or sand running if loading is deemed to be excessive.
Andrew is an ATFS Statiscian in Athletics with a wide range of knowledge in measurable sports. He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And is current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program. Currently, he is coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is working towards his Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.
He can be contacted on [email protected]