Author: Ivy Bjornson

Licensed Massage Practitioner, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

Keep Your Piriformis in Good Form.

The piriformis muscle lies deep to the gluteal muscles in the buttocks. It is an important lateral rotator, the position your leg is in while kicking a ball with your instep, and a essential stabilizer of the pelvis. Because of its importance in our mobilization and balance, it is not only used in vigorous exercise and sports, but also in activities such as getting up from a chair or walking. We are constantly putting demands on this muscle, yet because of the depth and location many are unaware they have a tight piriformis.

If this muscle remains tight it can irritate surrounding structures, such as nerves, which may result in pain. This pain can show up as low back pain, buttock pain, or pain running down the back of the leg. Other symptoms may include numbness, tingling, or a decrease in sensation in those areas.

Perpetuating factors include sitting for extended amounts of time and sitting with your legs crossed, quite common with the desk work and travel demands of todayʼs world. Climbing stairs, squatting, or running might exacerbate the discomfort our tight piriformis might be creating. This can be a frustrating cycle… we want to exercise because we sit all day… but when we sit all day, our tight piriformis might make certain exercises uncomfortable.

Talking with your personal trainer, massage therapist, yoga instructor, or another member of your self-care team, can help you build a great plan to keep your piriformis in good form. Static stretching, foam rolling, hydrotherapy, trigger point therapy, and myofascial release, are all great treatments for a tight muscles. Donʼt let your piriformis cause you to lose form, chat with your team and learn what you can do to help it!

Fascia: What’s it all about?

If you have taken an interest in your body, or taken steps to learn about it, you may have heard about fascia. Or, you may have heard the term myofascia, the fascia specifically interwoven, supporting, and involved with the muscle tissue. Perhaps a ʻfascial stretchʼ was mentioned before or after your yoga or Pilates class. Chatting with your trainer or physical therapist, you may have heard the word mentioned while he or she explained a specific movement or function of a muscle group.

 

According to Merrim-Webster, fascia is connective tissue sheet that covers or binds structures of the body. It is a whole network that supports the structure of your body and is throughout, not just on the bottom of your foot where you had that painful plantar fasciitis years ago. Simplified, if you peel an orange, take a look at the matrix of white membrane. In this example, the white membrane is our fascia and the orange is our whole body. All that membrane is providing support for the tiny pockets of juice, then organizes the pockets into segments, then binds the sections, and wraps it up  into a sphere.

 

Because fascia is located throughout every area of your body, it is important to pay attention to this tissue. In areas where this thickening of fascia occurs, such as the iliotibial tract, or IT band, it is essential to keep the tissue movable and adaptable. Sometimes immobile tissue can become uncomfortable or painful. Many athletes find that foam rolling the IT band on the outside of the thigh, gives them relief from knee, hip, and sometimes back discomfort. Rolling a small ball on the bottom of the foot keeps the fascia in a pliable state–reducing the chance that painful plantar fasciitis will return.

 

This is also one of the many reasons why massage is so helpful in recovery and in general well being. It stretches and mobilizes the fascial tissues of the body, creating a happier you!

 

To find out more about fascia and how our Massage Team can help you, contact our Massage Director Jessie Jo at jegersett@sacdt.com. To book your next appointment with Ivy, you can do it online as a member or by calling the Club at 206-443-1111.