Here are 2 stretches to get you started:
1. Piriformis cross-leg stretch
Many stretches indirectly involve your piriformis muscle, but the piriformis cross-leg stretch specifically targets this muscle—which starts at your lower spine and connects to the upper surface of your femur (on either side of your body).
Here is how to perform the piriformis cross-leg stretch:
- Begin by lying flat on your back.
- Next, place your feet flat against the floor and raise your knees towards the ceiling.
- Bring your right leg towards your body, and rest your right ankle across your left knee.
- Finally, pull your left thigh towards your chest until you feel a gentle stretch. You can then switch legs.
Start with 5 seconds of this stretch 3 times per day. Then, over the course of several weeks, slowly build your way up to 30 second intervals 3 times per day. Remember that if you feel pain, it is your body’s way of telling you that you are pushing too hard.
2. Hamstring chair stretch
Stretching your hamstrings is a great way to not only relieve piriformis syndrome symptoms, but also many different types of lower back pain as well.
One easy hamstring stretch that you can perform at your home or the office is the hamstring chair stretch:
- Begin by placing 2 chairs facing one another (how far apart they need to be is determined by your height).
- Next, sit on one of the chairs and then place the heel of your right leg on the other chair.
- You can then slowly lean forward, making sure to bend at your hips, until you feel a gentle stretch along your thigh.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs.
It is important to note that, if you suffer from a lower back condition in addition to piriformis syndrome, certain kinds of hamstring stretches can make your lower back pain worse. This is why it is important to speak with your doctor prior to starting a stretching program.
If the pain from your piriformis syndrome is too severe to allow you to stretch, your doctor may recommend a pain-relieving injection. This in turn can allow you to begin, or continue, an exercise program intended to bring you long-term relief from your pain.