Piriformis Muscle. Where is it, and what does it do?
This muscle lies beneath the gluteus maximus muscle. Its origin is on the lateral surface of the sacrum and it inserts on the superior portion of the greater trochanter. It is a relatively small muscle that helps with the external rotation of the hip joint. Stand on the heel of your foot and turn your foot outwards, away from you. Your Piriformis just got busy. Turn your toes inward and you start to stretch the muscle.
What can go wrong in the area?
Your sciatic nerve runs under the muscle. So, if you peeled a human being back in this area, you would get the Glute muscle, then the Piriformis muscle, then the sciatic nerve and then the hip bone. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, and is used to send information back and forth between the brain and legs. The nerve is as thick as your thumb in this area. Piriformis syndrome happens when the muscle goes into a spasm and begins to place pressure on the sciatic nerve.
The pain caused by this constriction can radiate into the buttock, down the thigh and up into the spine. Piriformis syndrome can also include tingling, or numbness normally in the buttocks. Running and sitting in a car can aggravate the condition.
The problem with Piriformis syndrome is that it’s symptoms are very similar to spinal issues such as crumbling vertebrae or a herniated disc.
Reference and picture: http://sbrsport.me/2013/07/29/piriformis-problems/
Picture: Google images