Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Runjuries: More than just a Pain in the BUTT (Piriformis Syndrome)

Over the last few months I've had a couple of nagging issues.  One, of course, is my hideously arthritic shoulder.  The other one is much more annoying.

It may be a little bitty muscle, but when it's not happy, it can cause major pain.  Luckily, the issues I've had with my piriformis are well, just annoying.  For some runners, piriformis syndrome can be devastating.  The piriformis can actually impinge the sciatic nerve.  So in addition to feeling a continual butt pinching feeling, sufferers may also feel burning or numbing sensation all down the affected leg.

My problem came when I started ramping my miles and skipping stretches and chiropractic visits.  I was always good about stretching out after my runs, especially long runs.  But I got lazy.  My muscles got all out of whack and the result was a kick in the butt.  Turns out, if your abductor muscles are too tight, boom.  Piriformis.  If your hamstrings are too tight, boom.

Deep pressure massage helped relieve the pain both immediately and more longer lasting.  This can be accomplished best by sitting on a lacrosse ball under the affected side.  From my experience, a lacrosse ball worked much better than a baseball (they don't roll as smoothly!) and a tennis ball (toooo soft!).

In addition to having my chiropractor do more regular adjustments and ART therapy, I found some great stretches that have helped.  

Lesson learned:  don't forget the simple stretching!!!!

More great resources on Piriformis Syndrome can be found at Runners' World