Piriformis syndrome and running; Here’s why stretching won’t solve this problem and what you can do to help yourself.
If you go on Google and search for Piriformis Syndrome, you are likely to find the same tired explanations that offer little understanding of why you hurt. Many of these messages are often selling something, yet they often offer the same tired protocols that fail to solve the problem.
If you are training for a race and have to stop and stretch your hip and leg, do you really understand why this is happening to you?
To solve the problem, you probably require a healthcare provider who can help you understand you. Without understanding what caused or aggravated the problem and your uniqueness as a runner, you are going to be frustrated with the results of care.
- Tight legs
- Bad running habits
- Chronic gluteal weakness and tightness
- Poor balance
- Ramping up mileage too fast.
- Tight calves
- Upper body problems such as limited shoulder mobility.
- The wrong running shoe for you.
There may also be other reasons I have not listed here.
We all are genetically different which affects how we move and function as I discussed in my book Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain.
Some of us are bowlegged, while others may be knock-kneed. Some of us are shorter while others are taller. We are all unique. Piriformis syndrome is often the symptom of a biomechanical adaptation that needs help. Your healthcare provider needs to understand you before they can help. You need more than therapy; you need a treatment that is custom-tailored to your unique body mechanics and how you use them to solve Piriformis Syndrome.
Who should you see first and why?
I was the medical director for USA Track and Field NJ for 26 years and I found myself diagnosing and treating many emergency cases, helping them compete in an event they spent months training for. Often, they would call a few days before the event and expect a miracle. In many cases, we succeeded in helping them successfully compete instead of backing out of their event. Working in track and field was an education that helps me help those who run, bike, swim or do any other sport.
By training, sports chiropractors are holistic, meaning they will look and ask about everything to figure out why you hurt. With regards to piriformis syndrome, a thorough approach is essential since the problem causing the issue could be almost anywhere, so why limit our evaluation to only the hip? Piriformis problems develop due to patterns of movement that are problematic. Chiropractic Sports Physicians are the primary care providers for athletes and the injuries they experience.
A chiropractic visit begins with our staff taking your blood pressure and then a consultation with the doctor. The doctor will ask you about your main complaint and then ask about your previous history. It is not unusual to be asked about other things you may believe have nothing to do with your main problem which in this article would be piriformis syndrome, but the doctor needs to put on his Sherlock Holmes hat to fully understand you.
The doctor will then do an examination which includes everything from the feet up. The doctor will look at how you move, squat, and stand. They will perform orthopedic tests and check the joints in the leg for mobility and assess the lower as well as the upper body to understand how you move. Treadmills are sometimes used as a diagnostic tool. Bring in your running shoes and any existing shoe inserts since the doctors will want to assess if these items are helping or perhaps part of your problems.
Sometimes an x-ray will be recommended especially in older athletes to evaluate the hip joints and see if they have unusual wear and tear.
Treatment usually occurs on the first day and may include myofascial release, and manipulation of the spine and extremities and it is common for foot orthotics to be recommended if a body asymmetry is a part of why your hip is so tight.
You will walk out of the office with a better understanding of why the problem exists and what can be done about it. Many patients feel relief on their first visit.
As our goals are in alignment with your goals, we will make treatment recommendations based on what is required to improve how you move and resolve the chronic hip tightness issues affecting how you run. If you are not a chiropractic case, the doctor will tell you this too however, most patients have great results with the chiropractic approach to care.
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