4 Piriformis Stretches to Relieve Lower Back Pain

Video Transcription

Hi, this is Dr. Brad Holden, HealthFirst Spine & Wellness. Helping you reach your true health by optimizing the core four of spine, mind, food, and move. Today’s topic, we’re going to learn how to stretch the gluteal, and the external hip rotators of the hip. Nicole here is going to be our model. She’s going to help us do this. We’re going to first of all show you some floor exercises you can do to stretch these muscles. Then we’re going to look at how you can do them standing on either a bench, or at the edge of your bed, which makes it really convenient to stretch these muscles.

Now these muscles in our hip usually get tight from inactivity, from doing a lot of sitting. So it’s one of the chronic things that we see in our office, and most people need to stretching these out. So Nicole go ahead and lie face up here for me. We’re going to be showing you how to stretch these on her left side. You obviously would want to do both sides though. I like to show three different positions, so we can target anything from the joint hip capsule, to the gluteus muscles, all the way into the piriformis by changing the angle at which we’re going to draw the knee, and the angle of the foot.

Go ahead and start by putting this foot on top of this knee here for me Nicole. We’re just going to let that rest right there. In this one we want to keep the knee out here like this, and we’re going to focus on pulling this knee more directly towards the shoulder. So we can use this right leg here to help us out. So Nicole, go ahead and bring this knee up towards your chest. You can reach around here if you’d like and grab onto this knee for support. You can grab on here to support this knee as well. You’re just really going to pull with this right side to pull that up. This is going to target more of the posterior hip joint capsule. Like most stretches, you want to hold them for 20 to 30 seconds. If at that 20 to 30 second mark you’re feeling a lot of muscle tension, that means you’re stretching too much, you want to back off the pressure just a little bit. After about 20 to 30 seconds you should feel that tension release a bit in the muscle. You want to do about three to five of these on each side. This would be position number one.

Position number two you’re going to let this leg slide down on the knee about halfway. Then you’re going to pull the knee more towards the center of the chest. You’re going to target more of the glutes when you’re doing this stretch. Exact same timing, 20 to 30 seconds, three to five times, feeling each repetition getting a little less tense overall. In the very last one we’re going to let this knee come all the way across. You’re going to fold this right on top like that. You’re going to pull this knee to the opposite shoulder. That’s going to target more of the lower hip muscles, where that piriformis is at, to stretch that muscle as well. I just do all three of these in a row sequentially; hip capsule, glute, and piriformis all at once on both sides.

Now let’s go over the standing version of this stretch. Now we’re going to stretch the right hip. So Nicole go ahead and put your right knee right there, foot going that direction there for me. If you have any knee problems, you want to make sure you get support underneath the knee. But ideally you want that knee going flat on the table. This is really important, you want to flex forward from the hip, not the lower back. So when I flex forward from the hip, I’m rotating from the hip, I’m not bending my lower back. So Nicole is going to hinge from her hip going forward, kind of chest going right towards her foot there. Again, this is going to target more of the joint capsule. We’re just going to extend that chest. There you go. Excellent. We’re going to get the posterior hip capsule with this stretch. Same recommendations, 20 to 30 seconds, you should feel that muscle release the longer you hold the stretch.

For this next position we’ll come out of this. We’re now going to move our knee in that direction. So we’re just going to slide everything to the left a little bit more. Now the chest is going to go more towards the knee. So we’re just moving the leg, changing the angle at which we’re stretching it. Now it’s getting more into the glutes that we’re getting the stretch. Same recommendations. Then finally we’re going to come up. We’re just going to rotate the body this way. Now we’re going to lean our chest right over that hip. We’re going to get more of the lower hip external rotators, and some of the piriformis there as well.

So thank you very much for tuning in today. If you found value in this, go ahead and subscribe to our channel, where we’ll bring more weekly goodness to you on the core four of spine, mind, food, and move. If you have any suggestions on stretches or exercises that you would like to see, please go ahead and post them in the comments section, and we’ll do the best we can to get those videos made for you. Thank you so much, and have an amazing day.