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The Causes & Best Treatment For Piriformis Syndrome

Hip pain. Pain and numbness that runs down the back of the legs. Pain and tingling in the center of your butt. Pain. Pain. Pain!

If you can relate to these symptoms, chances are you’ve been suffering from piriformis syndrome on some level. Though the symptoms can be highly uncomfortable and seemingly constant, there are some simple, at-home methods to help get your recovery process jump-started. Let’s dive in.

What Is The Piriformis?

With symptoms that can range slightly in location, it’s important to understand what the piriformis is to better grasp its reach within the body. The piriformis is a band-like muscle that runs diagonally from the midline base of your spine to the outer hip bone. This means that the piriformis is responsible for any hip rotation and turning of your legs and feet. It helps us walk, stabilizes our movement, and overall helps us maintain balance and control of movement. In short, it’s a pretty well-used muscle–and one you’ll want to protect!

The tricky caveat to piriformis syndrome is its placement in relation to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic is a long nerve that travels through and under the piriformis muscle. It also runs down the back of the legs, and eventually branches off within the feet, making its extension delicately intertwined with the piriformis muscle.  Sounds complicated…is it?

The Significance of the Piriformis Muscle

The piriformis is a prime target for high-repetition injury. When it is overused without the proper recovery time, symptoms of piriformis syndrome can manifest in a couple ways. The most common response is for the muscle to tighten substantially, causing compression of the sciatic nerve. This can cause highly uncomfortable spasming. Other symptoms of piriformis syndrome include pain around the outer hip bone, pain in the center of the glute, and pain that travels from the glute down the back of the leg.

Because the piriformis is in such a high-use area, it’s fairly easy to succumb to at least some form of piriformis syndrome. Extended sitting, running, and intense exercises can all lead to some level of piriformis syndrome if you’re not careful. It’s important to understand how to best take care of this muscle in order to keep movement pain-free in the long-term.

How To Prevent Piriformis Syndrome

Of course, the best way manage piriformis syndrome is to prevent it before it begins. Though it can be difficult to completely eliminate your chances of developing piriformis syndrome, it’s a worthwhile endeavor. Once the piriformis has experienced previous injury, it becomes much easier for piriformis syndrome to become reoccuring or even chronic.

Many instances of piriformis syndrome stem from overuse with poor form. When you’re running and exercising, be sure to practice good form and avoid uneven surfaces that may compromise your ability to hold the steady posture. Also make sure that you have a substantial warm-up and cool-down routine to help your piriformis muscle ease in and out of intense activity.

How To Relieve Piriformis Syndrome Pain

If you find that your pain increases with certain activities or with sitting, try changing your routine to counteract these previous habits. Many have also experienced relief by using ice, or occasionally even heat on the affected area.

There are also some great physical therapy exercises and stretches that, when performed regularly, can significantly help relieve the pain and discomfort that stems from piriformis syndrome. Be diligent in your use with these, and you could see real results.

How Chiropractic Can Help Piriformis Syndrome

Consistent chiropractic treatment can offer significant relief to those suffering from piriformis syndrome. Between a combination of spinal and extremity adjustments, chiropractic care can help to take the pressure of overly tight areas, realign your body, and keep your nervous system functioning properly. When your spine is out of line, it has a more difficult time communicating properly with your entire body. Adjustments can help to keep your healing process on track.

By scheduling regular chiropractic care, you can help to keep your body’s response system in tip-top shape. Your chiropractor can also help prescribe the best at-home exercises to implement to quicken your recovery time. During the initial evaluation, we will go over your symptom history in detail and construct a treatment plan that you are completely comfortable with before moving forward. Don’t put off your healing; schedule an appointment online.


This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

Sciatic Pain and a Tennis Ball: What They Have in Common

80% of people in the U.S. will experience some form of back pain (also called “sciatic pain”) during their lifetime. That’s far too many days spent sitting on the sidelines and struggling through daily tasks.

What might be causing your back pain isn’t always easy to determine, in part because most back pain starts days — sometimes even weeks or months — before the first symptoms ever show up. This can make it difficult to connect the pain back to its root cause.

We do know things like sports injuries, car accidents, inactivity, obesity, and poor posture are some of the most common culprits. What are some preventative measures you can take to ease the tension in your back?


7 Ways to Prevent Lower Back Pain

  1. Exercise at least twice each week. You’ll strengthen the muscles in the spine as you improve flexibility and balance. Unsure where to start? Try some gentle yoga to begin.
  2. Drink water! Half your body weight in ounces is a great guideline.
  3. When you’re sitting down for long periods, incorporate breaks. Be sure to stand up periodically and spread your weight evenly on both legs.
  4. Consider supplementing with vitamins D and k2. Be sure to ask your doctor before starting any new regimen.
  5. Stretch before bed. If possible, sleep on your side.
  6. Stop smoking. We’re all aware of the cardiovascular health risks — but did you know smoking also lowers the blood flow to the lower spine and promotes degeneration of the spinal disks, too? More great reasons to give up the habit.

Sometimes, though, we all struggle with an aching back. When it comes to treatment, the most common course of action is to simply take a “wait and see” approach — in most cases, back pain will resolve on its own within a month. Many people also find relief through acupuncture, chiropractic care, or perhaps anti-inflammatory herbs such as ginger, curcumin, and Boswellia.

And there’s another mode of treatment you may have heard about that can be amazingly effective…a tennis ball.


Tennis Ball Therapy – How it Works

How does a common tennis ball relieve your sciatic pain? It presses and treats the trigger points in the piriformis muscle, located beside your sciatic nerve. As your body weight presses into the part of your back that’s causing you pain, your muscles will relax and release. You’ll also improve your mobility and increase circulation.

It’s empowering to take charge of your own healing journey as you combine the benefits of massage, acupressure, and reflexology. You’re relieving muscle tension and soothing your sore muscles — all with a tennis ball.


How To Administer Tennis Ball Therapy

Massaging your body with a tennis ball is what’s called “self trigger point therapy,” because you can administer treatment yourself, and, it can be done in the comfort of your own home. As this treatment method grows in popularity and information continues to circulate, it’s very important to make sure you’re doing it properly.

Start by watching this instructional video:

Then, try it for yourself:

1. Lie down on the tennis ball.

2. Adjust the tennis ball so it’s right at the painful spot on your lower back or glutes.

3. Relax and roll up and down on the ball, holding the ball on the most painful spot for 30-60 seconds.

4. Move the tennis ball on to the next painful spot, and repeat.

Total time spent: 5-10 minutes.

Similar to when you get a deep tissue massage, you might experience pain initially — but don’t worry, you’ll soon feel relief.  


More Serious Back Pain

What if you’ve tried the preventative measures, done the tennis ball therapy, but your back still isn’t feeling better…now what?  If you have persistent back pain, you should always see a medical professional when symptoms start affecting your daily living. Planning life around your symptoms or putting activities on hold due to pain are clear indicators it’s time to make an appointment online and discuss a personalized treatment plan.

Chiropractic care and gentle adjustments of the spine can help reduce your pain; massage therapy eases the tension in your muscles and increases blood circulation. The combination of the two is especially effective and ongoing treatment can help you maintain good posture, improve your range of motion and keep your spine aligned, thereby putting an end to your back pain once and for all.



This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

Herniated Discs – Here’s How To Recover Quickly

If you have a herniated disc, you’re all too familiar with the neck or back pain that comes with it. You might also be experiencing the radiating pain in your arms, hips, buttocks, or legs.

You might be wondering how this all happened, and which treatment options you should consider. Keep reading to get your pressing questions about your painful herniated discs answered.

What Is a Herniated Disc?

Herniated discs are sometimes called ruptured or slipped discs. When your spinal disc ruptures it sometimes causes nerves on the hard outer layer of the disc to become irritated. This causes pain in the area around the disc. If material from the inner disc causes spinal compression your symptoms may shoot out to other areas of your body, causing you to experience and combination of:

  • Pain
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weak muscles and muscle spasms

Herniated discs in your neck can cause the above symptoms in your shoulders and arms, while a herniated disc in the lower back can cause these symptoms to show up in your buttocks, thighs, and even your feet. These painful symptoms are also a common cause of sciatica.

Herniated Discs: The Basics

Over time discs can simply become worn down, a process called disc degeneration. Spinal discs lose some of their water content with age, making them less flexible and more at risk of rupturing, even with a seemingly-minor strain that comes with everyday living. While most patients can’t pinpoint the cause of their herniated disc, others report that it was a powerful sneeze caused a disc to rupture or tear!

When the liquid center of the disc spills out into the spinal column through the tear in the outer lining of the disc, painful, life-affecting symptoms can result.

The 3 Most Common Types of Herniated Discs

When you’re experiencing the effects of a herniated disc, the type of symptoms depends largely on the location and severity of the damaged disc.

Your spine is made up of three regions: cervical, thoracic and lumbar. The soft-yet-strong discs that provide cushion for each section of your spine make it possible for your spine to support your upper body, maintain a wide range of motion, and support your head all at the same time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertebral_column


The three main types of herniated discs are:

  • Lumbar herniated discs are between any of the vertebrae numbered 1 – 5 in the lower back. This is the most-common type of herniated discs, as it supports so much weight and movement. Tingling, numbness, and lower body muscle weakness are all symptoms of a lumbar herniated disc.
  • Cervical herniated discs. These are located between any of the vertebrae numbered 1 – 7 in the neck, and have the complex task of supporting and moving your head. Symptoms here can begin in the neck and travel out to the shoulders, arms, and hands. Shooting pain, numbness, and impaired fine motor skills are also common symptoms of cervical herniated discs.
  • Thoracic herniated discs are found between any of the vertebrae numbered 1 – 12 in the middle back. This type of herniated disc is comparatively rare since vertebrae are attached to the rib cage and don’t move. A traumatic injury such as a car accident is more likely to cause thoracic herniated discs, rather than age alone. Pain symptoms are usually reported in the chest and abdomen.


Treatment for Herniated Discs

A combination of treatment options can be used through at least the first six weeks of pain and discomfort:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Physical therapy
  • Ice and heat therapy for pain relief
  • Medications including ibuprofen, naproxen or COX-2 inhibitors
  • Narcotic pain medications
  • Oral steroids
  • Epidural injections

Surgery is also a widely-used treatment option for a herniated disc, including an operation that surgically removes the entire damaged disc. However, surgery carries with it inherent risks, and its long-term effectiveness is becoming more widely questioned. Instead, many patients are turning to chiropractic care and experiencing huge relief.

Options include chiropractic care as well as non-surgical spinal decompression tables. Surgery should be a last resort when no other treatments have been effective.


Chiropractic Care for Herniated Discs

Chiropractic care thoroughly assesses your medical history while factoring in the results of a physical exam, orthopaedic, and neurological tests. Everything from your posture to reflexes are thoroughly considered.

Chiropractic care is always focused on you as an individual, and your body as a whole. Even if, for example, you only have lower back pain, chiropractic care assesses your entire spine for overall functioning. What happens in one area of your spine can have a huge impact on other parts of your spine and body.

A common and powerful chiropractic treatment for a herniated disc is known as the spinal manipulation, or adjustment, which applies gentle pressure to the affected areas. Many patients report experiencing instant pain relief.  Then, your ongoing individual treatment plan is customized to your pain levels, activity, overall health, and more.


You shouldn’t have to struggle with pain that interferes with your enjoyment of daily life – especially when relief can be simple and long-lasting. Make an appointment online so our team can collaborate on helping you feel better right away.



Information in this article is not a substitute for medical advice.

Take Control Of Lower Back Pain With These 3 Exercises

If you’ve been plagued by lower back pain and discomfort, you’re not alone. An astonishing 80 percent of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. Not to mention, it is also the leading cause of job-related disability, and is cited as the number one reason for missed work time. For a condition that is so incredibly common, it seems that many people feel ill-equipped to manage their everyday symptoms.

Perhaps an overarching issue with managing back pain is that the discomfort makes complete rest tempting, when in fact the real gains come from incorporating the right exercises into your routine. Certain movements can help to strengthen the muscles around the back to better support your spine, and lower back in return. We’ve rounded up some of what we feel are the most effective and easily implemented exercises for lower back pain below. Let’s get started.


Bird-Dog Repeats

This exercise is great to counteract lower back pain because it helps with balance and stabilization– two things that protect your back and counteract weakness along with the pain associated with it.

To perform this exercise, start on your hands and knees and engage your core muscles. Lift and extend one leg directly behind you, holding for five seconds. Then, repeat this movement on the other leg. Continue to alternate legs and, when you are comfortable, start also extending the opposite arm at the same time as the leg. While you’re doing this exercise, be sure to keep your core engaged and your back flat. Be careful not to raise your limbs past a point where you can maintain control of your lower back positioning. Repeat this exercise 8 – 12 times within pain-free limits of motion.


Wall Sits

Grab a friend and try some wall sits! This exercise can be a really fun challenge, and it just happens to be a great tool to help combat lower back pain.

Lean back and flatten your back against a wall. Slowly slide down until your knees are partially bent, keeping your back against the wall and your core engaged. Hold this for about 10 seconds, then slide back up the wall for a break. When you’re ready for another repeat, slide back down and time yourself again. Repeat this 8-10 times.

This movement helps to strengthen both your core and your leg muscles, two systems that contribute to helping your spine and back stay protected and happy. This is a great exercise to keep in your routine even after back pain has passed.


Knee-To-Chest Movement

This one may sound simple, but it can pack so many benefits for your lower back! This light stretch can help coax some of the tight, spasming muscles around your back to unlock a bit. Trust us, that’s a very good thing!

Start by lying on your back with both knees bent. Engage your core, and try to flatten your back toward the ground. Keeping your back flat on the ground, bring one knee up toward your torso; reach out with your hands and give it a gentle pull toward your chest to deepen the stretch and hold for about five seconds. Slowly lower your leg back down, and repeat this with your other leg.

Note: if you’re one of many people who is particularly tight and having difficulty with flexibility, you may find it challenging to reach out and grab your knee as you lift it. In this case, simply use a towel for assistance. Wrap the towel around the base of your knee and use the ends to gently pull your leg closer without compromising your lower back form. This is a common yoga move to help people advance through movements that they may struggle with at first.


Movements To Avoid

Though movement is a good for your lower back, there are certainly exercises that can exacerbate existing pain. Always use pain and discomfort as an indicator when performing new activities, but also be aware some movements may be best to avoid all together. These include standing toe touches, leg lifts, and any movement that involves twisting of your back.


How Chiropractic Can Help Lower Back Pain

Regular chiropractic treatment is another great conservative care option for not only overall health, but also back pain. The gentle adjustments that your practitioner can apply during an appointment help to realign the spine and extremities for better overall function. These adjustments not only help your whole body feel better, but they can also fend off inflammation and even help support your immune system. This is especially important while your body is in the healing process. Not to mention, your practitioner can help you pinpoint which at-home exercises may suit your injury best.


By scheduling regular chiropractic care, you can help to keep your body and your immune system in tip-top shape. During the initial evaluation, we will go over your health history in detail and construct a plan that you are completely comfortable with before moving forward. Don’t neglect your health; schedule an appointment online.



This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.

Is Degenerative Disc Disease Causing Your Lower Back Pain?

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) occurs when normal changes in spinal discs take place over time, causing you pain.

Think of spinal discs as shock absorbers in between the vertebrae of your spine which help it to stay flexible. As you age, the discs begin to break down. This process is a natural occurrence, but if your lower back pain won’t seem to go away, you might be suffering from DDD.

If any of the following patterns sound familiar, then you may want to visit a chiropractor for a spinal analysis:

  • More pain while sitting for a long time, lifting, twisting, or bending.
  • Less pain when walking or running
  • Less pain if you frequently change positions
  • Less pain if you lie down


What does it mean to have degenerative changes in the spine?

Just the name alone—degenerative disc disease—sounds scary. Is there cause for alarm and should you be concerned if you’ve received a DDD diagnosis?

Yes and no. When changes in the spine cause the loss of normal structure or function, it’s considered degenerative.  Your spine carries a huge portion of your body’s weight. Over time, the collagen (protein) in your spine weakens. Meanwhile, water and proteoglycan (PG) content also decreases, and thus the discs become unable to withstand daily mechanical stress. These changes are caused by regular use, but habits like smoking or an unhealthy diet may also be contributors. Fortunately, most patients who suffer from DDD respond well to non-surgical treatment.


Non-Surgical Degenerative Disc Disease Treatments

If you think you have or you’ve been diagnosed with DDD, bed rest may be helpful for a few days during the most painful phases. However, each patient is different and will have a unique treatment plan; after bed rest, your treatment plan may call for several different remedies including stretching, extension exercises, aerobics, acupuncture, medication, and chiropractic adjustments.

Stretching exercises

Lower back pain may limit flexibility, and following a prescribed set of stretching exercises can improve movement in the trunk muscles. Stretching exercises help to widen the intervertebral foramen, the small canals on the left and right sides of your spinal column through which the nerve roots exit the spinal cord.

Extension exercises

The McKenzie Method is an example of an extension exercise for the lower back muscles and ligaments. They help maintain proper spine curvature and reinforce healthy posture.


Aerobics

Amped-up muscular endurance, a better sense of coordination, stronger abdominal muscles and weight loss are just a few of the benefits of aerobic exercise.

Low or no-impact aerobic exercise like walking, biking, and swimming only put slightly more strain on your lower back than lying down while also strengthening your core. Stronger abdominal muscles help reduce the weight your lumbar spine is forced to hold up on its own.  As an added bonus, aerobic exercise helps keep anxiety and depression at bay for many patients.

Acupuncture

Although it should usually be combined with other treatments, acupuncture has been shown to jumpstart the production of endorphins, acetylcholine (an important neurotransmitter in the nervous system), and serotonin.

Medication

Especially during the intense initial phase of low back pain, medications may be prescribed. Acetaminophen, anti-inflammatory agents, and even muscle relaxants can be effective.

Because of the strong potential for addiction, narcotics and even anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) should only be used temporarily.

Depression can also contribute to low back pain, and there are non-drug ways to address that which may improve both mood and sleep.

We do not condone taking medications for pain, but we realize that people do. Our intent is to provide caution around doing so, and make sure people realize this is not a viable long-term solution.

If you experience an ongoing need for pain medicine we strongly urge you to come in and let us evaluate what is causing that pain. Whenever possible we want to treat and eliminate the underlying cause of pain, rather than mask it.

Chiropractic adjustments

Performed by chiropractors and physical therapists, adjustments can greatly improve DDD, making it much easier to twist, bend, and move around in daily life. Adjustments (also called manipulations) involve carefully placing pressure on spinal joints to relieve dysfunction and pain.

Your chiropractor may also perform different types of manual therapy to treat your DDD symptoms, including:

  • Manual joint stretching and resistance techniques to relieve pain and other DDD symptoms.
  • Therapeutic massage to help reduce muscle tension.
  • Trigger point therapy, which relieves tension by putting direct pressure on tight painful points in the muscle.
  • Instrument-assisted soft tissue therapy, reducing or eliminating pain by using various chiropractic instruments.


Living with Degenerative Disc Disease

If you’ve been diagnosed with lumbar degenerative disc disease, the good news is most patients respond well to non-surgical treatment.  If your pain is persistent and continues even after bed rest, consult with your chiropractor. Together, your chiropractor will work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan to address your acute lower back pain and reinforce a healthy lifestyle, including avoiding tobacco, maintaining a regular fitness program plus dietary adjustments.



This article isn’t a substitute for medical advice. If lower back pain has been an issue for you, you don’t have to keep suffering. Make an appointment online and let’s get to the root of your back pain as well as create a treatment plan just for you.

4 Easy Ways To Manage Sciatica Throughout the Day

Do you have consistent leg or back pain that you might describe as burning, tingling, or even sharp? Sciatica could be to blame.

Sciatica pain starts in the lower back, moves through the buttocks and into the large sciatic nerve in the back of each leg. Because it often gets worse when you sit down, managing your sciatica pain throughout the day might feel like a full-time job of its own.

How can you make your daily routine significantly more comfortable and pain-free? Here are four simple tips to get you started.

1. Optimize your Workspace

Sitting for long periods of time has become the norm for many of us. Unfortunately, when you’re trying to manage sciatica, even sitting can feel incredibly painful.

For sciatica patients, sitting down can feel significantly more comfortable with a well-designed chair and well-thought-out workspace. If possible, invest in a supportive ergonomic chair to provide support, and add in additional low back support by placing a lumbar pillow (or a rolled-up towel in a pinch) at the base of your chair. If your chair has wheels, you can easily roll yourself closer to your desk to avoid twisting and turning your body and potentially aggravating your sciatic nerve.

When using a computer, place the monitor in front of you at eye level and keep the keyboard and mouse nearby to minimize reaching. Keep in mind the way you sit also matters. Avoid crossing your legs, and keep your hips and knees bent at a 45-degree angle.

Whenever possible, stand up every 20 minutes and take a few laps around your office or workspace. When moving from sitting to standing, don’t bend at the waist to get up from your chair as this can stretch and irritate your sciatic nerve. Instead, simply slide to the front of your seat and straighten your legs until you’re standing.

Depending on your office environment, you might also consider investing in a sit-to-stand desk. It lets you adjust your desk’s height so you can easily transition from sitting to standing.

2. Go for a Walk

Walking can provide relief from sciatic pain by kickstarting the release of endorphins into your system and reducing the inflammation around your sciatic nerve roots.

Walk at a brisk pace for about 30 minutes, three to four times a week. When you’re walking, be sure to stand up straight to engage the muscles in both your core and lower back. To avoid burnout or injury, begin with short 5-minute walks and slowly build up your endurance.

If you’re in too much pain for a walk, consider going for a gentle swim in a warm pool instead. You’ll enjoy many of the same benefits with even less strain on your lower back.

3. Embrace the Mind/Body Connection

With so much focus on physical symptoms, it’s easy to overlook how powerful your mind can be in managing pain symptoms. When the mind focuses on something else, many patients can experience quick relief from their symptoms.

Mental imagery, meditation, and other relaxation techniques can decrease your pain levels and don’t require a lot of time– strive for 10 minutes each day, or 30 minutes three times a week.

2-3 minutes of controlled breathing in a quiet room is another option. And best of all, you can do this just about anywhere, even at the office!

4. Invest in a Good Mattress

Your body needs rest. A soft, unsupportive mattress forces your muscles to engage, even when you’re sleeping. If you’re not sleeping well or your muscles are unable to relax properly each night, you’ll eventually experience muscle fatigue and exhaustion. Invest in a quality mattress; look for a mattress with firm support, to ease the tension on your spine. You’ll sleep better and your body will get the down time it needs.

When To See A Doctor For Sciatica Pain

While there are many lifestyle changes you can make to your home and work environments to manage your sciatica pain, professional medical treatment is recommended. Chiropractic care zeroes in on the cause of your pain, provides immediate relief, and manages your ongoing care by implementing a customized treatment plan.

Although every patient is different, the cornerstone of chiropractic treatment for sciatica is usually a chiropractic adjustment. Gentle pressure is placed on the painful areas to help reduce nerve irritability and bring back your range of motion. Stretching techniques may also be used on your sore muscles and joints so they’ll feel better right away.

An important part of managed care is getting to know the patient and set goals for the future. With a holistic, customized treatment plan that includes therapeutic treatment, maintenance care, exercise, and activity modification, your pain can be banished for good.




The information in this article can provide some serious relief, but it’s for informational purposes only. There’s no substitute for a professional consultation about your symptoms. Schedule an appointment online.

10 Piriformis Stretches To Get Rid Of Sciatica, Hip, And Lower Back Pain

There’s a tiny muscle you’ve probably never heard of that has a powerful effect on your daily movements, and can even be linked to sciatica. It’s called the piriformis and it enables you to move your hips, upper legs, and feet away from your body. The piriformis also covers the sciatic nerve that runs from your lower back and down towards your legs.

When the sciatic nerve becomes pinched, it results in the very painful condition called “sciatica.”

The strains of daily life can place even more pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing numbness, tingling and even acute pain that can last from minutes to hours. This pain usually runs from the lower back toward the hip, buttocks, and legs. Before you realize it, sitting or changing positions becomes very difficult.

Luckily, there are several simple and effective ways to stretch out that tiny piriformis muscle and provide relief from your sciatica pain. Give these 10 powerful piriformis stretches a try— and be sure to watch the videos, too.

1. Simple Seated Stret

  1. Start by sitting in a chair and cross your sore leg over the knee of your other leg.
  2. While keeping your spine straight, bend your chest forward. If you don’t feel pain, bend forward a little more.
  3. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat this stretch with your other leg.


2. Standing Piriformis Stretch

If you have trouble balancing with this stretch, stand with your back against a wall and your feet about 24 inches from the wall for extra support.

  1. While standing, place the leg that’s causing you pain over the knee of your other leg. It should create the shape of the number 4.
  2. Lower your hips at a 45-degree angle until they reach the ground. Bend the leg you’re standing on as needed.
  3. As you bend forward at the waist, reach your arms down to the ground while keeping your spine straight.
  4. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
  5. Switch legs when done.


3. Supine Piriformis Stretch

  1. Lie down and bend your knees upwards.
  2. Cross the affected leg over your other leg and bend it upwards toward your chest.
  3. Grab your knee with one hand and your ankle in your other hand. Pull the bent leg across your body until your glutes are pulled tight.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute and release.


4. Outer Hip Piriformis Stretch

  1. Lying on your back, bend your sore leg upward and place your foot close to the back of your other knee.
  2. Tuck your foot behind that knee and twist your leg to the opposite side. Your knee should be touching the ground (or as close as you can get).
  3. Place the hand on your opposite knee and raise your opposite arm in the air.
  4. Hold for 20 seconds.
  5. Switch to the other leg.

You’ll want to recover from this stretch! Lie on your back, bend both knees together and gently pull them with your hands toward your chest.


5. Groin/Long Adductor Stretch

  1. Sitting on the floor, stretch your legs straight out in front of you, spread as far apart as possible.
  2. Place your hands on the floor next to each other while angling your torso forward toward the ground.
  3. Lean forward and rest your elbows on the ground. If you encounter pain, stop right away!
  4. Remain in the position for 10-20 seconds.


6. Inner Thigh/Short Adductor Stretch

  1. While sitting on the ground, put the soles of your feet together in front of your pelvis.
  2. Hold your ankles with the opposite hands (left hand – right ankle and vice versa).
  3. Gently push downward with your knees with the effort to touch the ground with them. You need to stop right before any pain occurs, which means that if you feel pain, get back an inch or two and stay there.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, release, and flutter your legs in that position (like a butterfly) for 30 seconds.

Want an even deeper stretch? Push your knees down with your elbows or bend your torso forward while keeping your back straight.


7. Side Lying Clam

  1. Lie down on the side of your body that isn’t in pain.
  2. Bend your legs back, holding one foot over the other and keeping your legs parallel to each other. You should be creating an “L” shape.
  3. Keeping your feet together, lift up the top knee while keeping the rest of your body in the original position.
  4. Slowly bring your knee to the initial position.
  5. Repeat 15 times.


8. Hip Extension

  1. Get down on the ground on all fours, making sure your hands are in line with your shoulders.
  2. Raise your affected leg upward with your knee bent toward the ceiling.
  3. Gradually lower your leg until it’s almost touching the ground.
  4. Repeat 15 times.


9. Supine Piriformis Side Stretch

  1. Lie on the ground with your legs flat and back straight.
  2. Bend your sore leg upward, resting the foot on the outer side of the opposite leg beside the knee.
  3. Ease the knee of your affected leg across the middle of your body with your opposite hand until you feel a stretch, making sure to keep both your shoulders and hips on the ground.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, return to the starting position and switch legs.
  5. Repeat the process 2-3 times.


10. Buttocks Stretch for the Piriformis Muscle

  1. Place your hands and knees on the ground, getting into position on all fours.
  2. Bring the foot of your affected leg underneath your stomach, twisting it toward the opposite side near the hip, while pointing with the knee toward the shoulder.
  3. Lower your head, until your forehead touches the ground, and lean your forearms on the ground for support.
  4. Slowly stretch the non-affected leg out behind you, while keeping your pelvis straight.
  5. Push your hips slightly toward the floor.
  6. Hold for 30 seconds and return to the initial position slowly. Repeat 2-3 times.


Note that home remedies are helpful in mitigating pain but do not address the root cause. A full chiropractic examination identifies the source of your pain, provides treatment to relieve the symptoms, and establishes a customized treatment plan to ensure you’ll keep the pain at bay, for good. Make an appointment online with us today.


This content isn’t meant to diagnose or treat your medical condition and is not a substitute for in-person medical advice.

Can Leg or Back Pain Actually Be Sciatica?

If you’ve been experiencing consistent leg or back pain (or perhaps you’d describe it as a burning or tingling sensation), sciatica might be the culprit.

Sciatica is a term that describes the symptoms of leg pain that starts in the lower back, moves through the buttocks and into the large sciatic nerve in the back of each leg.

Sciatica also often includes:

  • Consistent pain in one side of the buttock or leg that worsens when you sit down.
  • Weakness or numbness that makes it difficult to move your leg, foot, or toes.
  • Sharp pain that makes it difficult to walk or stand.
  • Pain that travels down just one leg and into the foot and toes.

Two very common types of pain that trace back to sciatica are piriformis syndrome and a herniated disc/bulging disc.

Piriformis Syndrome

The piriformis muscle connects the lower spine to the thigh and makes hip rotation possible. Piriformis syndrome develops when muscle spasms crop up in the piriformis muscle and compress the sciatic nerve that’s located underneath.

If you are experiencing pain in the hip, the center of the buttocks, or down the back of the leg, you may be suffering from piriformis syndrome.

A Herniated Disc/Bulging Disc

With a bulging disc, the gel-like center protrudes but stays within the outer wall of the disc. A herniated disc, on the other hand, occurs when the gel-like center breaks through the disc.

Whether a disc is bulging or herniating, disc material presses against a nearby nerve root, pushing down on nerve tissue and causing sciatica. In either case, nerve compression and irritation results in both inflammation and pain, causing numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.

This pain can occur anywhere on the spine but usually affects the lower back.


Think you might have sciatica? Here’s what to do next.

Home Care Treatment

The hamstrings are a group of three muscles in the back of the thigh that help bend the knee and extend the hip; stretching your hamstrings may help ease your lower back pain. Unfortunately most of our daily activities don’t involve the hamstrings, so stretching exercises keeps them healthy.

Secrets behind powerful hamstring stretches:

  • When you can, warm up before stretching with a 10-minute walk will help get your blood pumping.
  • Ease into the stretch gently and hold it for about 10 seconds, twice per day. Over time, you can increase to 30 seconds or more each time.
  • Remember to breathe!


Hamstring Stretches While Lying on Your Back

If you’re experiencing low back pain or leg pain, you might benefit from hamstring stretching exercises done while lying on the back, which is least stressful on the rest of your body.

Use A Towel:

  • Lie on your back, supporting your thigh with your hand or with a towel wrapped around it.
  • Slowly straighten your knee until a stretch is felt in the back of the thigh. The ultimate goal is for the bottom of your foot to face the ceiling.
  • Hold the position initially for 10 seconds, and gradually work up to 20 to 30 seconds, stretching one leg at a time.

Use A Wall:

  • Lie back on the floor with your buttocks against a wall at a corner or by a door jamb.
  • Keeping one leg on the floor, place your foot off your alternate leg against the wall and try to gently push your knee straight so the raised leg and the leg on the floor make a 90-degree angle.
  • Hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds.


Hamstring Stretches While Sitting

Hamstring stretches from a seated position can be varied based on the placement of your leg.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

  • Sitting at the edge of a chair, straighten one leg in front of you, with your heel on the floor.
  • Sit up straight and push your navel towards your thigh, but don’t lean the rest of your body forward.
  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, repeat 3 times for each leg.

Give each exercise a try and decide which one feels best for you.


Chiropractic Treatment

If you’re not experiencing pain relief from the home care exercises, or if your symptoms are prolonged or recurring, it may be time to schedule a full chiropractic exam. A chiropractor will identify the cause of your pain, provide immediate relief, and develop a treatment plan that fits your specific needs.

Treatment for pain relief often includes a chiropractic adjustment, applying gentle pressure on the painful areas to help reduce nerve irritability and restore your range of motion. Mobilization techniques may also be used, which stretch your sore muscles and joints so they’ll feel better right away.

Beyond immediate relief, a key component of any successful treatment plan involves getting to know the patient and set goals for the future. A holistic treatment plan that includes therapeutic treatment, maintenance care, exercise, and activity modification can help get rid of your pain for good.

This article isn’t intended to provide diagnosis or treatment – there’s no substitute for professional consultation about your specific symptoms. You shouldn’t have to endure leg or back pain –  contact us to schedule an appointment online.

What Causes Lower Back Pain (And What To Do Next)

Everyone’s lower back pain is unique. Pain can come on suddenly or build over time, increase when sitting or lying down, or at other times it seems to follow you everywhere you go.

Regardless of your exact pain, everyone who suffers from lower back pain has one thing in common: you want it gone. And now. While most cases of low back muscle strain subside naturally within a couple of hours to a few days, if your pain has continued for more than a week or two, it’s time to seek medical attention.

First, let’s discuss the different types of lower back pain and the underlying causes.


Sciatica

The term sciatica describes leg pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness that starts off in your lower back and travels down the sciatic nerve in the back of each leg. Sciatica isn’t a medical diagnosis but is a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

You might be experiencing sciatica nerve pain if your pain is:

  • In just one side of your buttock, or in one leg
  • Worse when you’re sitting down
  • Best described as burning, tingling vs.  a dull ache
  • Making it hard to move your leg, foot, and/or toes


Lower Spinal Disc Pain

Disc pain is most common in the lower back, where most spinal movement and weight-bearing activities occur. There are many different terms used to describe issues with a spinal disc and disc pain, including:

  • Herniated, slipped, or bulging disc
  • Pinched nerve
  • Ruptured/torn disc
  • Disc protrusion

There are also two ways a spinal disc can result in lower back pain:

  • Disc pain. Sometimes the disc itself degenerates to the point of causing spinal segments to become unstable. This can result in chronic, low-level pain around the disc mixed in with bouts of more severe pain.
  • Pinched nerve. Most of the time it’s not the disc itself causing lower back pain,  it’s the material leaking out of the disc. This material pinches and irritates nerves in the area, producing sharp, shooting pains that radiate to other parts of the body.


Spinal Arthritis

Stiffness and lower back pain can often be traced back to spinal arthritis. This type of lower back pain moves in a distinct cycle throughout the day, such as:

  • The lower back pain and stiffness are worst first thing in the morning.
  • Over the course of the day, the pain becomes more tolerable.
  • When evening comes, the pain and stiffness get worse.
  • Pain that disrupts sleep is often an indicator of osteoarthritis.

There’s also localized tenderness when you press down on the affected area of the spine. You might also experience pinching, tingling, or numbness in the spinal cord, which happens when bone spurs form at the edge of the joints of the spine and irritate the nerves.


Pulled Lower Back Muscle

A pulled lower back muscle is the culprit in most episodes of lower back pain. It happens when the soft tissues supporting the lower spine, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments, become damaged. Pain usually comes on suddenly and can often be linked to a specific event or activity.

A pulled back muscle might sound like a minor injury, but the pain and muscle spasms that result can be severe. The soft tissues in your lower back help support weight from the upper body. When they’re under too much stress, the low back muscles or soft tissues become injured.

Symptoms from a pulled lower back muscle include:

  • Strained muscles that feel sore, tight, or achy.
  • Pain that gets worse the more you move. You might also feel stiffness when you try to walk or stand.
  • Pain concentrated in the lower back. Pain from a pulled muscle doesn’t travel to other parts of the body.
  • Inflammation that feels tender to the touch.
  • Temporary pain relief when you’re resting.

It’s not uncommon to experience occasional pain flare-ups for up to 4 to 6 weeks after the lower back injury.


Non-surgical Treatments for Lower Back Pain

Fortunately, there is a broad range of non-surgical treatment options available, each one with the goal of relieving pain caused by a compressed nerve root.

A few of the more common measures include:

  • Apply ice – then heat if necessary. If you’ve had an injury (an acute event) or new pain, first try ice to reduce the inflammation. If the pain persists beyond 72 hours, then you may want to try heat or alternating cold and heat.
  • Pain medications. Over-the-counter or prescription medications are often effective in reducing lower back pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or oral steroids can reduce the inflammation that is usually part of the cause of pain. Muscle relaxants or narcotics may also be prescribed for up to 2 weeks to help with the pain.
  • Epidural steroid injections. When the pain is severe, an epidural steroid injection can also reduce inflammation. The injection goes directly into the painful area around the nerve.


Chiropractic Treatment for Lower Back Pain

You may have heard the term “subluxation” used by chiropractors to describe the abnormal position of the vertebra that causes discomfort or pain and can restrict movement. Chiropractors view subluxation – and your lower back pain – as a process, rather than a fixed condition.

Chiropractic treatment for lower back pain usually involves some type of manual therapy:

  • Spinal manipulation and manual manipulation. Widely known as a chiropractic adjustment, gentle pressure is applied to the abnormal vertebra to help reduce nerve irritability and restore range of motion in the back.
  • Mobilization refers to a lower-velocity manipulation that stretches the muscles and joints, increasing the range of motion.

A key part of any successful chiropractic treatment plan involves getting to know the patient and setting achievable goals. The treatment plan is built around the patient’s pain issues and stamina and includes exercise, activity modification and more, all working together to banish your lower back pain for good.



Hey, we get it. You’re experiencing lower back pain and are seeking answers as to what might be causing it. This article isn’t intended to provide diagnosis or treatment – there’s no substitute for professional consultation about your specific symptoms. Don’t let lower back pain keep you down any longer –  contact us to schedule an appointment online.