Lower back pain is a common area of muscular complaint at Entegra Health. Whilst lower back pain often involves a variety of contributing factors to muscular discomfort; the primary muscles commonly involved are: the Piriformis (Gluteus muscles), Iliopsoas (Hip Flexors), Quadriceps (large muscles in the front of the legs), Hamstrings (large muscles behind the leg and Adductors (muscles located along the inner thigh).
Where Are the Piriformis Muscles?
The Piriformis muscles are one of the deepest Gluteal muscles, located beneath the largest Gluteal muscle; the Gluteus Maximus. The Piriformis muscle is shaped like a pear, and therefore named after the fruit (piri). The Piriformis originates in the sacrum in the lower back, and attaches (inserts) at the head of the femur and lateral (side) hip.
What Are the Functions of the Piriformis Muscle?
The Piriformis muscles are responsible for lateral rotation of the hip, in conjunction with the major hip rotators (Glute Major, Minor; Quadriceps Femoris). The Piriformis is also responsible for ensuring smooth extension of the legs such as when walking.
What Tension Related Problems Can Occur in the Piriformis?
At Entegra Health Parkville, common conditions of the Piriformis muscles include general mild to moderate lower back tension related conditions, to persistent (chronic) inflammatory conditions. More severe although common conditions associated with the Piriformis muscles include Bulging Disc (herniated spine), and Sciatica, involving inflammation of the sciatic nerve located between the vertebrae in the lumbar spine.
Symptoms commonly present with Piriformis tension may include pain in the lower back and glutes, and reduced range of motion in bending and lifting actions of the torso. Other common symptoms associated with acute Piriformis tension and/or pain may include difficulty getting out of bed, standing from a sitting position, or getting dressed.
Common aggravating factors associated with general Piriformis tension may include:
- Repeated use causing strain, or overuse of Piriformis muscles
- Weak Gluteal muscles
- Tight hip flexors due to sitting at a desk based position for prolonged periods
- Increase in lower back/gluteal weight bearing loads (i.e weighted squats)
How Can I Reduce Lower Back Muscular Tension? | Glute & Lower Back Stretch
At Entegra Health, we highly recommend consulting your Remedial Massage therapist during your treatment (or through a Telehealth appointment), to determine the most appropriate treatment management plan for you. Common management plans may include a combination of regular Remedial Massage treatments, and self-care options including stretches and/or strengthening programs, to effectively reduce general muscular tension of the Piriformis muscles between Remedial Massage treatments.
Stretches | Glute & Lower Back Stretch
Many simple stretches exist to effectively lengthen and reduce tension in the Piriformis muscles of the lower back (see Entegra Health stretch library). Stretching the Piriformis muscles may also assist the reduction of tension in the lower back.
Strengthening | Glute & Lower Back Stretch
Strengthening the Gluteal, QL and Abdominal muscles is important to effectively support stabilization of the pelvis and lower back. Exercises to strengthen the Piriformis muscles include squats to strengthen the Gluteal and lower back muscles, and resistance training including lateral (side) leg extensions, leg lifts, and clam exercises.
Enquiries | Glute & Lower Back Stretch
For further information regarding Remedial Massage, or treatment options, please contact us via email. Access to free online resources including stretch and exercise video resources can also be found on our website.