How Chiropractic & PEMF Therapy Can Help Piriformis Syndrome
Piriformis syndrome is often overlooked as a cause of low back pain. While patients may be experiencing low back pain, sciatica, or hip pain, what they really have is a spasm of the piriformis muscle.
The piriformis muscle, a hip rotator muscle, is just underneath the buttock and can cause pain in that area, in the low back, or even irritate the sciatic nerve, causing shooting pain. In fact, the most common symptom associated with piriformis issues is sciatica.
Who Gets Piriformis Syndrome?
You can get piriformis syndrome from sitting for long periods of time, which is nearly all of the patients we see in our office. You can get it from walking, running, walking up stairs, or due to a car accident or fall. Most commonly, it's the patients that tend to sit for long periods of time and run on the weekend that we see most frequently.
The patients tend to sit most of the time, but when they do get active, they don't stretch their hip rotator muscles or activate their glute muscles prior to exercise. That means the piriformis muscle gets tighter and tighter until they eventually have a symptom -- like low back pain or sciatica.
They will also tend to notice the problem when putting on their pants, socks, or when they are putting on shoes. They may also notice it when rising from a sitting to a standing position.
Services That Work Best For This Condition
(Click on the image to learn more)
How Can Chiropractic Treat Piriformis Syndrome?
Chiropractic treatment not only helps in treating pain in the lower back, but also the surrounding regions affected by your condition. Chiropractic care administered specifically by one of our chiropractors has many benefits that can help reduce or eliminate pain, treat certain conditions causing the pain, and also help in other health conditions such as neck pain, headaches, joint injuries, and muscle tension and strains.
A respected review in the Annals of Internal Medicine recommended chiropractic treatment, in particular, spinal manipulation, as one of the major drug-free therapies that are considered effective for pain in the low back. The goal of chiropractic treatment and care is to allow the body to naturally heal itself by releasing the pressure in areas affected by pain and correcting misaligned joints through gentle, non-invasive treatment options that promote the flow of fluids, oxygen, and blood through nerves and connecting tissue.
Chiropractic care is not only an effective, alternative treatment option to pain medication and invasive surgery, it also helps prevent recurring symptoms and pain while providing long-term support to ongoing and chronic conditions. It takes a holistic approach to treat pain using soothing and gentle care to adjust and correct problematic areas that continue to cause pain in your low back region.
Chiropractic Care Treatment Options
There are several key chiropractic adjusting techniques used by chiropractors to provide pain relief for piriformis syndrome that many patients claim to experience almost immediately. Some of these treatment techniques include.
Spinal Manipulation or Chiropractic Adjustments
Sometimes known as manual therapy, spinal manipulation involves moving and adjusting the joints through a combination of massage, exercise, and physical therapy that relieves pressure on joints and improves nerve function. Spinal manipulation is done using a chiropractor’s hands to massage, stimulate, and adjust the spine and surrounding areas. This technique also utilizes a rapid movement to correct misaligned joints that might be causing chronic pain.
The American Chiropractic Association reported spinal manipulation as a cost-effective treatment for pain in your back and encourages patients suffering from low back problems to seek this as a first treatment option even before taking pain medication.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation or PNF stretching is very helpful in relaxing the hip rotator muscles, including the piriformis. Your chiropractor will put your hip into a position that you feel your piriformis muscle get tighter, or you'll feel some additional tension. You'll then "push" into the doctor's hand using your hip muscle for 5 - 10 seconds. You'll repeat this several more times until the muscle starts to relax.
This form of active stretching increases blood flow and allows the tight muscle to begin to relax. You may see this type of stretching being performed on athletes prior to games. It's a great way to get the muscle to release, and keep things from tightening up again right after leaving the office.
PEMF Therapy (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy)
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) is a calming and energetic modality that can help people across a wide spectrum energize their bodies to enhance overall wellness and improve on all aspects of their health and wellness.
The science behind PEMF is a well-studied practice (here's an example) that’s been around for more than a hundred years. It’s used by healthcare providers to diminish pain, stimulate immune support, improve physical and mental performance, and enhance brain function (as well as much more).
According to research from Yale Medical University from as far back as 1932, they discovered that the depletion of electrical energy from the body is the root cause of general poor health. PEMF, or pulsed electromagnetic field, is a source of energy that helps the body repair/regenerate/rebuild naturally, enhancing the functionality of the body's cells.
Chiropractic treatment options are often complemented with a massage that can help soothe strained muscles and ligaments while providing healing effects to the low back region through applied pressure in targeted areas. You can seek professional massage therapy, or utilize a self-massing tool like the Hypervolt or utilize a lacrosse ball or softball on the area. If using a ball, you'll just use it to apply pressure to the knot, not to roll around on.
Home Exercises & Stretches
Your personalized chiropractic care plan at CORE Chiropractic will inevitably include a home stretching or exercise program. We have specific low back exercises that include several options for stretching your hip rotator muscles. As you progress, we can increase the amount of exercises you do, or give you more challenging versions. The key here will be consistency. You can't sit all day and then do 30 seconds of stretching once a week and see a difference. You'll need to engage the piriformis and low back muscles on a regular basis until symptoms improve.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care and PEMF Therapy
Chiropractic treatment plans and PEMF therapy therapy have long-term benefits that can help relieve chronic or acute lower spine pain. It not only treats affected areas to provide pain relief but is also effective at correcting issues or problems that cause low back pain.
The benefits and effectiveness of chiropractic care and treatment techniques have been studied for a long period of time and more than any other aspect of low back pain and alternative treatment options. Besides the fact that chiropractic care is a non-surgical, non-invasive treatment option that is not only cost-effective and does not require any downtime, it also does not require any use of pain medications to reduce pain.
There are numerous benefits that chiropractic care and treatment can provide, including:
- Short and long-term pain relief
- Corrects chronic low back problems
- Restores body functions
- Improves mobility and flexibility
- Improves nerve system functions
- Promotes healthy blood flow
- Promotes quicker healing
- Reduces the effects of joint and tissue degeneration
- Detects and treats causes of low back pain early
- Prevents chronic ailments that cause low back pain
- Enhances daily activities
- Promotes a healthy lifestyle
- Enhances social health
- Enhances physical health and fitness
- Improves mental health stability
Preventing Piriformis Syndrome
It is important to always maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent pain in the lower back and to strengthen muscles in the low back region to help support daily functions, flexibility, and other activities. With any treatment plan, a continued effort on your part is vital in ensuring that your low back pain does not reoccur.
Here are just a few ways to help prevent Piriformis Syndrome and to keep your low back healthy and strong.
- Exercise that strengthens muscles and includes stretching is great for your lower back. Yoga or Pilates are great exercises to strengthen your lower back.
- Stretch before and after intensive physical activity, especially your hip rotator muscles.
- Do not remain in a stagnant position for longer than you should. Small stretching exercises, leaving your desk to walk around, and even stationery exercise while watching television can have long-term effects in promoting a healthy back.
- Always check to make sure you have good support at your desk or in a chair.
- Utilize a foam roller to help support the hip rotator muscles and prevent tension in the low back.
The benefits of chiropractic care are most evident when regular and consistent treatment plans are followed through by a licensed and experienced chiropractor who can follow up on your progress and continue to ensure that the pain and causes do not reoccur. Chiropractic sessions can last between 20 to 45 minutes and rarely cause any pain while treatment is being performed.
Always seek the advice of a trained medical professional before starting any treatment plans. Your health matters and low back pain is not something you have to tolerate for the rest of your life. Speak to a chiropractor today on how you can start living a healthy, pain-free lifestyle again.
Having Piriformis Syndrome doesn’t mean you are doomed to a life of pain.
Let CORE Chiropractic help you get back on track with personalized chiropractic care, PEMF therapy, and a custom treatment plan. Call today for your consultation or schedule an appointment online.