Sciatica can be a very annoying condition.  

Pain, tingling, and sometimes numbness from the lower back, through the buttock, and down the leg is the common symptom with sciatica.  

Did you know this can actually be due to a condition called piriformis syndrome?  It is actually a very treatable condition and if treated correctly can resolve the pain, tingle, and numbness all together.  

The piriformis muscle is located deep in the buttock crossing from the tailbone and attaching out into the hip.  This muscle helps rotate the leg outward. The sciatic nerve runs very near the piriformis muscle to give power to the leg muscles.  

For some, this nerve can actually run through the piriformis muscle. Regardless of either way, when this muscle gets tight it pushes on and irritates the sciatic nerve and causes the referral down the leg.  

So keeping this muscle loose is key to keeping sciatic pain away.  Stretching is key.  Here is a good way to do that.  

Lie on the floor with the affected leg crossed over the other leg at the knees and both legs bent.  Gently pull the lower knee up towards the shoulder on the same side of the body until a stretch is felt.  Hold this stretch for 20 seconds, repeat on the other side as well.  Might as well keep both sides loose.  

Aim to do three of these stretches on each side daily, more if you do a lot of bending or turning of the foot outward, such as in a side step for work, sports, etc. If that stretch just isn’t resolving the issue then go see your chiropractor.  

An adjustment of the pelvis, sacrum/tailbone keeps the piriformis from being tugged on and causing tightness, and gets to the true root of the tightness and problem.  

To prevent further sciatica, pay attention to how you use your foot.  When you walk, look down at your feet.  Do you turn your foot outward?  If so, then this causes the piriformis to be overused repetitively. 

Are you a runner, do you turn your foot outward then? Or do you round your leg in a swing rather than using the knee and lift to take a step?  Do you sleep on your side with your top leg swung over the other?  This pulls on that muscle making it tight also.  

Work on correcting these and you will see less and less sciatica in the future.

Dr. Andrea Hornstein owns and operates Hornstein Family Chiropractic in Wahpeton 

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