Piriformis Syndrome - Townsville Massage

It’s a real pain in the bum.

I’m not referring to your nagging wife or lazy husband.  This is all about pain in that muscle tucked in behind the Glutes… the Piriformis, and someone in the world of the wise has named it the Piriformis syndrome.

The Piriformis Syndrome effects countless numbers of people daily, and doctors refer to it as neuropathic entrapment.  That means that a muscle deep under the gluteal area called the Piriformis is tight or inflamed which decreases the performance or flow of the largest nerve in the body (the sciatic), which passes behind it.  Sometimes, it goes through the muscle.  Tightness in the Piriformis  will cause pain can be in or around the muscle, and along  the sciatic nerve, usually in the back of the thigh, and possibly all the way down into the foot. Shooting pain along the sciatic nerve distribution is called sciatica.  Pain can also be referred up into the lower back region.

If you have pain walking uphill or up stairs, along with pain after prolonged periods of sitting, it’s quite possible you have a dicky Piriformis.

Where is it?

The origin of the muscle is the front the sacrum.  The sacrum is that triangular shaped bone at the base of the spine between the two hip bones, forming the pelvic girdle. The Piriformis Muscle then goes through the greater sciatic foramen (that’s a hole in the pelvis) before it blends into its tendon and inserts onto the top of the Femur at the Greater Trochanter ( hip bone).

The sciatic nerve travels through the greater sciatic foramen (that hole I told you about) behind the Piriformis Muscle.  In about 15% of the population, the sciatic nerve goes through the Piriformis muscle. It’s no surprise then that those within that 15% would be much more likely to experience Piriformis syndrome. Regardless, a tight and/or inflamedPiriformis will eventually lead to a condition known as Sciatica.


The function of the Piriformis is to abduct and laterally or externally rotate the femur. Abduction of the thigh means to move the leg out to the side away from the body. Lateral (a.k.a. external) rotation means to rotate the hip such that your toes are pointed out to the side instead of forward.

Runners, cyclists, and weightlifters usually experience the condition. Another cause is sitting for prolonged periods with the hips abducted and externally rotated. This can occur at one’s desk, but it is also very common while driving for long periods of time.


Stretching is good.  Deep tissue massage is  also invaluable in treating Piriformis Syndrome.  Undoubtedly, the best  technique is an active release. It’s a very precise technique that’s used to remove any adhesions that might have formed within the Piriformis or between it and the Sciatic Nerve.

A deep tissue massage can help if the therapist is familiar with the anatomy of the deep gluteal muscles.  If you’re experiencing the symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome or tight Gluteal muscles, make a booking and feel the difference Remedial Massage can make.  With any massage however, it’s advisable to wear comfortable underwear that’s not too tight.