IIf you’re dealing with a sore, sore lower back and pain through your buttocks — and you’ve confirmed it’s not sciatica — you could be dealing with piriformis syndrome.

According to a TikTok by yoga teacher and trainer Dakota Mays, piriformis syndrome is commonly confused with sciatica and results from a tight piriformis muscle. That’s the one that’s attached to your femur and sacrum; It helps stabilize the hip and rotate and abduct the thigh. When the muscle strains, it spasms, causing pain and irritating the sciatic nerve. (Note that if you have shooting nerve pain, tingling, tingling, or electric shock feelings, you should see your doctor first to make sure your spine and nerves are healthy. This is especially true if the pain comes after an injury.)

According to Harvard experts, piriformis syndrome is relatively common. What causes it is very common: sitting for long periods. Other causes include climbing stairs, lifting heavy objects, and overexertion. It’s more common in women, FYI.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be dealing with a tight piriformis muscle:

But the piriformis can be difficult to locate – and to stretch! Luckily, Mays shared a set of moves that he says “can help you massage, stretch, and strengthen your piriformis muscle.” Listen:


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May’s Flow, including a Forward Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana), can help stretch the muscles in the glutes and lower back. That, in turn, will begin to offer some pain relief. If you’ve been sitting too much for too long, this will feel like a welcome change from your usual position.

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