Piriformis Syndrome and Yoga - Aura Wellness Center

Piriformis Syndrome and Yoga

500 hour yoga instructor certificationBy Faye Martins

Why are teachers talking about piriformis syndrome? How is it connected with pain? Can Yoga help mysterious pains and aches? Do you have tingling sensation or a shooting pain that goes from the buttocks down the leg and worsens when you stand up or try to walk? That’s sciatica, right? Indeed, chances are your discomfort involves the sciatic nerve. However, the pain may actually result from a condition called piriformis syndrome, not a damaged nerve.


What is the Sciatic Nerve?

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It originates in the lower back and goes through the buttocks and down each leg, all the way to the toes. Additionally, an irritated sciatic nerve can cause pain anywhere in the lower extremities and sometimes affects the bladder.


What is Piriformis Syndrome?

The piriformis muscle runs from the sacrum to the outer hip and crosses over the sciatic nerve. When the muscle spasms or constricts, it squeezes the sciatic nerve and creates many of the same symptoms as sciatica.


Some sources say the syndrome is rare, but it may also be under-diagnosed. As a result, treatment often targets the nerve rather than the surrounding muscles. Piriformis syndrome occurs in people with healthy backs as well as those with disk problems. Equally important is knowing the root cause, which helps to eliminate unnecessary invasive procedures.


How Does Yoga Help?

When one muscle is tight, it sets a pattern for the entire body. Targeting a single muscle system reinforces the problem and often leads to injuries. For the purpose of aligning the spine and strengthening the body’s core, gentle forms of Hatha Yoga are helpful. In order to address the cause of a muscular imbalance, the lesson plan must work the entire body.


Yoga Poses for Piriformis Syndrome

Seated Spinal Twist

Reclining Twist with Raised Knee

Pigeon Pose

Standing Forward Bend

Tree Pose

Mountain Pose


As a matter of fact, Yoga poses (asanas) restore flexibility to the hip flexors and strengthen the piriformis muscle, but that’s not all. When included in a comprehensive Yoga training routine, they improve posture, flexibility, and overall health.


Final Thoughts

Granted, it is important that each of us understands the exact sources of pain within the body. Without knowing what exactly is causing a problem a direct solution is still needed. Sadly, some of us some of us live in a state of chronic pain after physical therapy, exercise, Yoga, surgery, and prescriptions. Therefore, a strategy for pain management needs to be based on the exact problem and the safe reduction or elimination of chronic pain. To clarify, doctors and physical therapists often advise a mix of treatments and physical forms of Yoga are often part of the solution.



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