Piriformis Trigger Points: Preventing a Pesky Pain in the Butt

Piriformis Head Image

Overview

This article is about Piriformis trigger points. It will also provide some information regarding how to treat pain caused by trigger points.

  • What is the piriformis muscle?
  • Piriformis pain
  • What are trigger points
  • Main causes of piriformis trigger points
  • Why trigger point massage helps
  • Preventing future trigger points

So first, let’s get a better understanding of piriformis.

What is Piriformis

The piriformis is a flat, band-like muscle that is located in the buttocks region, just underneath the gluteus maximus, near the top of the hip joint. It is one of six hip muscles, collectively they are called the lateral rotator group. This muscle is important for movement in the lower body, stabilizing the hip joint and moving the thigh away from the body. In turn this helps us to walk, shift weight from one foot to another and keep ourselves balanced. It is used in almost every motion that involves the hip and legs. Right below the piriformis muscle is a large nerve, called the sciatic nerve. More on that later.   

The piriformis muscle is a flat, band muscle which is located in the buttocks. It functions to assist rotating the hip and turning the legs.

Piriformis Image 1

Piriformis Pain

Piriformis pain can be the result of tension, “hard spots” or trigger points on the lower back, buttocks, lateral side of the thigh and back of the thighs. There is another form of piriformis pain, which is caused by the piriformis muscle pinching a critical nerve called the sciatic nerve. This nerve is long and connects from the spinal cord to the posterior thigh, down the leg all the way down to the foot.

This pinching of the sciatic nerve caused by the piriformis muscle is known as piriformis syndrome, resulting in numbness and pain in the lower body. Because of this, if you experience piriformis trigger points you may find pain occurring in these regions:

  • Posterior lower leg and foot
  • Groin
  • Lower back
  • Rectum during bowel movement
  • Buttocks
  • Thighs

There may also be pain when sitting or rotating the hips. If you experience any of these symptoms, there is a chance you may have piriformis trigger points. If you cannot adequately identify the source of your pain, or it is severe, please consult your doctor.

Piriformis pain can occur in the buttocks or thighs. However it can also press upon a critical nerve called the sciatic nerve, possibly resulting in pain at other locations too, like the foot or leg.  

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What are Trigger Points

Our muscles are made up of many individual fibers. When we move throughout the day these fibers undergo a process of expanding and contracting. A trigger point is a tiny area within the muscle fibre that locks this strand of muscle in place, and is no longer able to fully expand or contract.

Trigger points can come in two forms, “Active trigger points”, these are painful most of the time. “Latent trigger points”, these are painful when pressed. Latent trigger points often develop into active trigger points if left untreated. Active trigger points often motivate us to seek professional help to alleviate the pain.

A trigger point is painful when touched and can occasionally show in the form of a visible lump on the body, but more often it is not visible as it can be small and lie deep within the muscle fibres.

Pain is sometimes felt at a different location to the trigger point, this is what we call referred pain. When it comes to the piriformis muscle, there are actually two trigger points. The medial and lateral trigger points, located at the buttocks. But the pain referral pattern can move down the leg, or if pinching the sciatic nerve can range from the lower back down to the foot. It can also cause pins and needles or a burning sensation. 

A trigger point refers to a muscle fiber that has become tight, forming into a lump. This lump may or may not be visible but is painful to touch. Piriformis trigger points can cause referred pain to other parts of the body too.

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Main causes of Piriformis Trigger Points

There are many reasons why a piriformis trigger point develops. Some of the main causes of a piriformis trigger point include:

  • Overuse from excessive exercise
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Extensive stair climbing
  • Extended sitting periods
  • Running or other repetitive activities that involve the legs

If you pinch your sciatic nerve, other symptoms may appear. This pinching can be caused by some of the following:

  • A bad fall
  • Direct hit in sports
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Sudden hip twist
  • Penetration injury that reaches the muscle
  • Inflammation of surrounding tissue.
  • Often the cause is unknown!

A piriformis trigger point can develop from a range of causes. Be careful not to overexert yourself when exercising the lower body. You should also avoid sitting down for long periods of time. 

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Why Trigger Point Massage Helps

A great way we can alleviate the pain caused by trigger points is by massage. This is because a trigger point is a swollen knot that blocks the flow of blood. This blockage then restricts the flow of  blood to the muscle. Massage can provide instant relief by removing the blockage, flushing out any build-up of toxins and allowing fresh oxygenated blood to the area. This in turn can help to prevent the growth of additional trigger points. Thankfully you don’t need to pay for an expensive masseuse. You can simply use our trigger point self massage tool. Bapare! This can help with piriformis trigger points and other trigger points in the body.  

Massage is a great way to help with piriformis trigger points as they help improve oxygen and blood circulation in those trapped areas caused by a trigger point. Massage can reduce your pain and finally allow your tired and stressed muscles to relax and recuperate.

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Preventing Future Trigger Points

It is always better to prevent trigger points, than to try to cure them. How can we stop these pesky pain points from developing in the future? Here are some important factors you need to consider in your daily life to prevent them from returning:

  • Good posture
  • Quality sleep
  • Regular stretching, exercise and an active lifestyle
  • Nutritious diet
  • Drink enough water
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Don’t smoke!

Do you need a massage device that is designed for piriformis trigger points? Look no further than Bapare! This is a trigger point massage tool that is built to target key areas of the body and provide you with instant relief. You can purchase one here on our website for a quality massage experience!

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Conclusion

Today we looked at some important things about piriformis trigger points. We learned what is the piriformis muscle, and discussed the pain that can be experienced radiating from this muscle. We also included an explanation of what is a trigger point. We looked at what can cause a piriformis trigger point, how to prevent them in the future and why massage works for tackling these painful muscle knots.

If you suffer from a painful trigger point, not only in the buttocks but on other parts of the body then chances are you could benefit from a trigger point massage device. Look no further than Bapare! Our device Bapare, which stands for BAck PAin RElief helps with deep tissue and muscle strain massage. You can find Bapare on sale on our website, available worldwide!

Liked this article? Make sure you take a look at our other posts available on our Blog page! For example, you can learn about other muscles that cause trigger points, like the Latissimus Dorsi or the Infraspinatus. Or maybe you wish to learn more about Bapare? Check out How to use Bapare or Making of Bapare for more information.  

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