Muscle of the Month : The Piriformis

When patients come into our office with low back pain or symptoms resembling sciatica one of the muscles we check in on is the piriformis. During the examination we will check on range of motion and strength of different muscles to see if we can narrow down where the pain/discomfort is coming from. It is usually not just one muscle that is tight or restricting but the piriformis is tight in most if not all in our patients.

The piriformis  is a flat, pyramid-shaped muscle that lies parallel to (in line with) the gluteus medius and underneath the gluteus maximus muscle in the hip area.The muscle passes through the greater sciatic foramen (a space in the pelvic bones, on each side of the center) and to the upper part of the greater trochanter (a bone ridge near the top of the femur, or thigh bone). It takes up the most area in the greater sciatic foramen.

It is a small muscle when compared to other muscles of the region. The piriformis helps rotate the hip and works with other...

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