I suspect I'm developing an issue with my piriformis muscle in my left leg. I see a lot of stretches online but I'm wondering if there are any strengthening activities I could do.

Unfortunately, I have a rather desk-oriented job so I know having my hips flexed all day doesn't help. I've also seen some dismal info that it may never go away. I really must stop Dr. Googling...

Anyone else run into this?

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Do some deep self-massage using a tennis ball and then stretch it.  Stretching the hamstring will also help. But ultimately, we need to find the source of the issue and that might be in your posture while sitting in the death chair.

place the tennis ball on the floor and sit on it and roll back and forth and in circle on the muscle.  It will hurt, so good!

Melinda,

 

I have piriformis issues as well.  Eric is right about the tennis ball, it works really well.  Another exercise you can do when you are sitting at your desk is cross one leg over other, hold onto your foot and push down on your knee gently, you will feel the stretch.  Hold for 10 sec, do ten reps 2-3 times a day.  Another is to put your leg straight out toes pointed up then pull your toes back towards you while leaning down toward your knee, you will definitely feel the stretch. Hold for 5-10 sec, do 10 reps, 2-3 times a day.  I have had this piriformis issue for awhile but when I started doing exercises to strengthen my glutes and quads the pain has minimized.  Hope this helps. 

hi

I have similar problems and is piriformis problems aswell. I have been told that sitting down for 10-12 hrs

a day is pretty much the cause of the problem. Yes correcting posture etc is good but i have found it more or less imposible to get rid of the problem fully. Sitting all day is just hard. I suggest using a golf ball to get even deeper into the muscle. This really works for me and gives me the relief i need. I think that getting into a habit of doing something every evening after work will help you but if you want to rid the problem then the only  resolution is get a job that doesnt involve sitting all day -:)

Good luck 

Thanks for all the ideas. I now have both a golf ball and a tennis ball at work. I also found some good strengthening and stretching videos: http://bcove.me/x7nb3gzl

That clamshell exercise is deceptive. Looks easy but hoo boy does it burn.

I already feel better but the long run on Saturday will tell the tale.

I found that a certain stretch that I was doing was one of the sources, not the solution for the tight piriformis. I was stretching my IT Band using a dynamic stretch from the resistance stretching series. (Stretching with Dara Torres) Ironically, it is similar to the stretch described in one of the posts (by putting your ankle over the opposite knee). The IT band is fascia and does not take kindly to stretching.  

Another form of deep tissue self-massage involves finding the sore spot (trigger point) in your piriformis as you do your cool down. (While walking) It is much easier to get to this elusive muscle when you are moving as there are layers of muscle in the glut area. The down side is that it looks kind of weird to be probing your back side while walking down the trail. Go get a deep tissue massage and the masseuse will show you where to probe.

An update to this: my pain has disappeared.

I stopped doing the stretches. I was concerned that I was irritating it even more.  I then started going to a massage therapist every other week. He is a runner and knew exactly how to get after that rotten thing! A hamstring tear injury from 30 years ago turned out to be the culprit. I was a sprinter another lifetime ago. The old scar tissue was causing my hamstring to tighten up. Who knew?!

He busted that up and I'm back on track.

Thanks for all the thoughtful insight. You folks are great!

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