Tag Archives: hip mobiity

False Sciatica

" False Sciatica" a.k.a "Piriformis Syndrome", refers to pain that begins in the hip and buttocks and continues all the way down the leg. This condition is often accompanied by low back pain, which can be more or less severe than the leg pain. In addition to pain, other sensations include spasms, tingling or numbness along the sciatic nerve that can travel down the hamstrings, legs and feet. These symptoms can be bilateral or can occur on one side.

What causes False Sciatica?

The cause of Sciatica can range from a misaligned vertebra or disc, to tightened muscles surrounding these structures, to tightened muscles anywhere along the length of the sciatic nerve. It is called true sciatica when a herniated lumbar disc compresses one of the contributing roots of the sciatic nerve. It is called false sciatica when contracted musculature in the buttocks or lower extremity compresses the sciatic nerve. The symptoms are the same for true or false sciatica.

The sciatic nerve passes through a mass of the hip’s external rotator muscles. The sciatic nerve exits the greater sciatic foramen and can run superficial to, deep to or even through the pirformis muscle. Spasm in the piriformis muscle can cause compression on the sciatic nerve sending pain, tingling and numbness down the posterior leg. This description falls into the category of false sciatica and is referred to as piriformis muscle syndrome.


False Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis Syndrome is sometimes referred to as “back pocket” sciatica. People that keep a wallet in their back pocket and sit on it throughout the day often develop symptoms of pain in the rear and down the leg. The extra pressure on the buttocks can cause tightening of the buttock muscles which can compress the sciatic nerve. In “back pocket” sciatica, the removal of the offending wallet usually brings relief.


In general,  soft tissue manipulation techniques such as deep tissue massage, active release therapy and Graston, applied to the offending muscles (overly tight) will bring relief, as well as continued stretching. once the previously inhibited tissues have regained pliability.

If this is a condition that seems  to describe your symptoms, do not hesitate to make an appointment with a qualified Registered Massage Therapist, so that he/she can get to the "butt" of the issue, and send you merely on your way back to recovery! (Cheesy pun totally intended!)

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5 Awesome stretches to increase your hip mobility (and may decrease your back pain)

Great hip mobility is necessary in allowing your body move thru a 'normal' range of motion. Indeed, if your hips aren't able to move in the ways and in the range of motion they were intended to, they may not become as useful and muscle compensations will eventually occur, which may lead to low back or neck pain. Your hips are designed to generate a ton of power, and the following stretches are 5 of my favourite stretches that will open up your hips, groin and legs, and will allow you to move without restrictions or compensations so that your hips can do their job!

Deep Squat Stand
Get into a deep squat with chest and eyes up and forward. Keep your core contracted and upright. Hold onto the front of each shoe. Then as you stand and extend hips back, continue holding onto the front of each shoe to full extension. Repeat 9 more times.
This stretch improves hip and leg mobility while stretching your hip and hamstrings.
Samson Stretch
Interlace your thumbs and raise your arms overhead. Engage your shoulders and shrug them up towards your ears. Step forward into a lunge with the knee of the rear leg touching the floor. Stretch your hands up towards the ceiling as you sink into the lunge and push your hips forward as your arms reach back behind you. Stand up out of the lunge and repeat on the other side.
This move stretches and lengthens the arms, shoulders, and back while stretching the hip flexors as well.

Couch Stretch (no.. it's not what you think it is!)
Find a wall and get down on all fours and move your bent knee back into the wall with your shin and the top of your foot touching the wall. Then bring the forward leg into a 90-degree angle with the knee directly over the ankle. Then stand tall with your torso and your chest and eyes up looking forward to the opposite side of the room. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to prevent hyperextending your lower back. Hold for 30 seconds and switch to the other side.
You will feel an intense stretch on the right front side of your hip.

Figure 4 Stretch
This stretch will externally rotate your hip. You can do this stretch on a box or a table. You’ll need a box or table that you can bend one leg and lay the front of the leg or the shin on the box. Keep your torso erect and your core engaged. Keep mild pressure on the leg to try and keep the leg as flat on the table or box as you can. Hold for a 5-count and repeat on the other leg.
This stretch targets the hip muscles and the hip joint.
Goblet Squat
The goblet squat hold is literally holding a kettle bell in the bottom of a squat. This is an isometric hold which is super effective at improving hip flexibility. You want to use a moderately heavy weight. Flip the kettle bell upside down and hold it by the belly of the bell, or the part that would resemble a goblet. Lower into the bottom of the squat with the elbows just inside the knees. Use your elbows to drive your knees outward increasing the stretch on the adductors. Hold this stretch for 10 deep inhales and exhales.
This is a great stretch for the hips, hamstrings, and glutes, while also strengthening them as well. It also targets the hip flexors and stretches the groin.

Spiderman stretch
Start in the pushup position. Step forward with the left leg outside of the left hand. Drive the hips forward and hold for 5 seconds. Return to the start position and repeat on the right leg. Alternate for 5 reps on each side.
This stretch targets the hip flexors.

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