Massage for Piriformis Syndrome

massage for piriformis

The piriformis is a small deeper muscle in the glutes (buttocks) that rotates the thigh outward (externally) and when the leg is bent at the hip it helps abduct (move away from the body) the thigh.   It prevents the hip from rolling inward when doing an activity like running.

The sciatic nerve runs under the piriformis muscle and down the leg.  However, for about 20% of people the sciatic nerve actually goes through the piriformis muscle.

A tight piriformis can sometimes compress and impinge on the sciatic nerve which will cause those commonly known symptoms of pain and pins & needles or numbness down the back of leg, glutes, and low back. If it’s severe it may cause some weakness in the lower leg.

Pain can be aggravated by sitting, sit-to-stand, standing, bringing the leg inward to the body, and having prolonged hip flexion.

Remedial massage therapy can be a great way to treat this piriformis syndrome and alleviate the pain and symptoms.  The therapist will target the affected side working on the upper gluteal muscles (including the piriformis) with massage techniques and trigger point release work to help decrease tension in the soft tissue.  They may work around the lower back, the opposite side and through the posterior leg too depending on time.   The muscles around the hip and pelvis can often be quite a tender area so make sure to tell your therapist if the pressure is making you too sore, or if you are struggling to relax under the pressure, or if you are uncomfortable in anyway.  Focus on your exhalations as you breathe to help your muscles “let go”.

You can self-massage into the middle of the gluteal muscles using a tennis ball or spiky massage ball to pinpoint the tight areas.  Stretch the muscles with your knee towards chest and across the body – feel for the stretch sensation in the buttock and don’t push into pain.  You can use a pillow between your knees if you are a side-sleeper to make sleeping more comfortable while the area is aggravated as well.  Try to avoid sitting for long-periods, take regular breaks to move and stretch.

If this is a recurring issue then it is worthwhile to see a physiotherapist for further assessment and treatment.



Our Response to Covid-19

This page is up to date to our best knowledge, however, this is a rapidly evolving situation so we apologise for any potential delay in updating this information.

We want to reassure all our patients that we are following stringent infection control procedures in our clinic, and screen all people coming into the clinic, to exclude any patients that have any signs or symptoms consistent with Covid-19, as well as screening any patients that should be in isolation ie recently returned from overseas, or have been advised to isolate due to recent exposure with a known Covid-19 patient.

All our staff have now completed the Department of Health Covid-19 Infection Control Training.

What are we doing to minimise risk?

  • Screening patients for risk factors over the phone or through text messages before they attend appointments. Those with risk factors or symptoms are advised not to attend & to seek medical advice.
  • Hand sanitiser station at the front of the building must be used before you enter.
  • Following stringent infection control measures within the clinic. This includes
    • Disinfecting all beds, door handles, EFTPOS machine before and after each patient use.
    • Linen changed between each patient and commonly touched surfaces through the practice are cleaned regularly throughout the day.
    • Minimising the distances between clients in the waiting room- some chairs are outside undercover.
  • We have advised our team members not to come to work if they have cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • We are following all Department of Health recommendations for our type of business.

On the 30th March 2020 – the Australian government issued a statement that “People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.”

The decision to come in for physiotherapy treatment really is an individual one – if you feel that your treatment is medically necessary, and are comfortable with the risks of leaving your home and coming to physiotherapy, then rest assured that when you attend our physiotherapy clinic, we are following our strict infection control processes and doing everything we can to minimise your risk whilst in our care. However, we completely understand if you are not comfortable with coming in for treatment.

TELEHealth Consultations

We are offering telehealth consults and home visits (where suitable) for patients who cannot attend our clinic.

Read more about TELEhealth Consultations here.

Staying Healthy

  • Wash your hands often (and for 20 seconds) with soap and water
  • Cough into your elbow or use a tissue to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Social distancing practices – Avoiding close contact with others, such as touching, including shaking hands
  • Limit contact with people who are sick, and stay home if you are sick and encourage employees to stay home when sick
  • Get 7-8 hours’ sleep a night to help your immune system stay strong
Please stay safe and take care of each other!

We are monitoring the situation very closely and will make adjustments to our business as we are further informed. Our priority is the health & well being of our patients and our staff. Thanks for your understanding.

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