The piriformis muscle is important for leg and hip movement, and our overall balance while standing. An impinged piriformis will cause lower back pain and can also affect the sciatic nerve.
Here are some piriformis stretches you can perform at home to keep this muscle healthy.
- Lying on your back, place your hand on the same side of one knee, with the other hand on the raised heel.
- Gently raise the knee toward your shoulder and cross the calf across your body toward the opposite shoulder.
- Hold for 5 seconds, then release.
- Repeat with the other leg. As you get used to this piriformis stretch, extend the holding time of the stretch up to 60 seconds.
Stretch slowly and if it hurts, modify your extension or don’t do it. You should feel muscle tension but not pain when exercising. “No pain, no gain” doesn’t apply here. You can end up sending a muscle into spasm or pulling it, resulting in more pain and a longer recovery period.