Piriformis Syndrome

by Dave
(Allentown, PA)

I have developed a mild case of piriformis syndrome. I have significantly increased my amount of stretching, but have continued running. Is it OK to run with piriformis syndrome or am I going to make it worse. Also, is it OK to use a Nordic Trak with piriformis syndrome?

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Dave,
Thx for your question about piriformis syndrome. I see you lodged this query quite a while back. It somehow got lost and suddenly popped up again, so sorry for the delays in answering you.

Piriformis syndrome is a real pain in the butt. Literally, because that's where the pain is. The sciatic nerve sits under the piriformis muscle. This muscle squeezes your sciatic nerve when you run. As with anything that gets squeezed and pushed around, if you do it repeatedly, it can start to hurt.

The cause of your piriformis syndrome may not necessarily be your running, e.g. maybe it is not so much your running, but riding your bike that causes it or your posture or sitting habits. Understanding what is causing it is really the key to answering the question of whether it is advisable to keep on running or not.

Chances are though that your running does have something to do with it.

Most experts would advice you to stop running or to cut back considerably to give your sciatic nerve a chance to recover.
It sounds like you want to keep on running. If you do so, at least try to cut out speed and hill work for a while.

Stretching to loosen up the muscles and nerves in that area is definitely a good idea as well.
Other ways to treat this are massages, strengthening exercises etc.

Hope this helps.
Best of luck with your running.

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