If you have piriformis syndrome, you may find it difficult to sit down and get up from a seated position. This is because the piriformis muscle connects the bone at the base of your spine (the sacrum) to a pelvic bone about an inch or two higher up (the iliac crest).
There are a few things to keep in mind when sitting with piriformis syndrome. First, try to avoid sitting for long periods of time. If you must sit for extended periods, take breaks every 20-30 minutes to stand up and move around. Second, when seated, make sure that your hips and knees are at 90-degree angles.
Avoid crossing your legs, which can put additional strain on the piriformis muscle. Finally, use a pillow or other support to maintain the natural curve of your spine. By following these simple tips, you can help reduce your pain and discomfort from piriformis syndrome.
What is Piriformis Syndrome?
Piriformis syndrome is a condition that results when the piriformis muscle, which is located in the buttocks, becomes irritated or inflamed. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as sitting for long periods of time, hip injury, or repetitive motions. Symptoms of piriformis syndrome include pain in the buttocks, sciatica (pain that radiates down the leg), and numbness or tingling in the leg.
While Piriformis syndrome can be painful, there are a number of things you can do to help ease your symptoms. With some simple lifestyle changes and at-home treatments, you can find relief from the pain and discomfort of this condition.
Here are some good ideas for how to avoid sitting with piriformis syndrome in the first place, as well as what you can do if you have it and need to be seated for a while.
1. Try sitting on a ball
A lot of people find this helpful for easing back pain in general. You can get an exercise ball at any store or simply use a pilates ball or yoga block instead. The key is to sit on the ball in a neutral position, with hips and knees bent, so that you don’t put extra pressure on your back and knees. When you’re finished working out, put the ball down gently by using your arms to roll it a few inches away from you (not in the middle of your back).
2. Use a chair with built-in lumbar support
Some chairs have these. If yours doesn’t, try to find one that does – they’re worth their weight in gold. The lumbar support helps keep your spine neutral and upright. You can also keep a computer monitor slightly elevated so when you look down, your eyes are at the same height as your keyboard.
3. Avoid strenuous exercise
If you must sit on a hard surface for an extended period of time, like in a waiting room or while watching TV, try standing up every 30 minutes to stretch and walk around. If you have to stand while sitting, make sure that you don’t slouch and don’t let your spine sag forward.
4. Try Not To Get up Without Permission
It’s often difficult to stand up from a sitting position without hurting your back further. If you need to get up, try to wait for someone or something to give you permission.
5. If You Need An Office Chair
Try a chair that has good lumbar support and a headrest. An orthopedic doctor can help select the best chair for you. If your current office chair is hurting your back, consider standing up at your desk or getting an ergonomic kneeling chair (many of which recline). If the cushion is worn out or your cushion is not supportive enough, ask for a gel pad to put on top of it.
6. Use a Lumbar Roll
It’s best if it’s under the small of your back instead of over the hip bone. Support your lower back and use it whenever you sit.
7. Use a Small Cushion
A small cushion on top of your lap should be comfortable enough. If not, another option is to have a small roll of foam rubber placed under your knees so that you don’t sit too far forward in the chair, which can cause pain.
8. Sit up straight
Make sure you’re sitting up straight with your hands on the armrests and your feet flat on the floor (to prevent slouching). You can also use elbow bolsters or a “lerx” (a theraband with handles; look for them at health-supply stores). These can help prevent you from leaning forward while sitting.
9. Put a Pillow Between Your Legs
Between the knees is best, but in a pinch, between the thighs should suffice. This can help ease pain by taking pressure off the piriformis muscle.
10. Take ibuprofen
For temporary relief. Use as little as possible to avoid causing damage to the kidneys and stomach lining.
Piriformis syndrome can be a painful condition, but there are a number of things you can do to ease your symptoms. Avoid sitting for long periods of time, and make sure that your hips and knees are at 90-degree angles when seated. Additionally, ice the affected area, stretch and massage the piriformis muscle, and take over-the-counter pain medications as needed. If your pain is severe or does not improve with home treatment, see a doctor.