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Piriformis Syndrome and skiing


MrBlack
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  • Baller

Hi Ballers, been a few years.

Last post was working on 28 off.  Spent the time mostly free skiing 32/32 and recovering from both a posterior and anterior shoulder dislocation…the first from skiing and the second a few days later closing my car door.  A ton of rehab later my gates still suck (technical term), but I am getting all of 4 ball, almost 5 ball, and an inch short of 6 at 32/32 by the time I make up for bad entry gates.

My problem is this time of year I am getting piriformis syndrome.  I see a LMT and a chiro throughout the year and have a skiing specific workout routine focused on lateral and posterior chains (Sorenson holds are your friend).  
 

Does anyone have any experience with piriformis syndrome and what do you do to prevent?  Is this a byproduct of our passion or bad form?  Are they related?  I’m 6’4” 185 and have 47 years of wisdom.  
 

I love skiing and want to be able to do this into my 70’s like our current club patriarch.  Two years ago (prior to my shoulder issue), I had the same issue.  I need to get in front of this next year.
 

Thanks in advance.  

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  • Baller

Get a Hard Dog Ball  ( approx 4-5 inch ) take the pain sit on it and move it around , followed by piriformis Stretch, once or twice a day, everyday, vary the stretch, there is plenty of different methods shown on youtube.

Get a roller for your back, after stretching, put the roller on the base of your back and let your butt hang on the other side of the roller, put your hands back over your head, to create a stretch in the lower back and wait for the release in your back muscles.

Eventually it will back off, but not a quick fix.

No Medical advice given, just what worked for me.

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  • Baller

Try Watching tv in basic downward and upward dog.  Once the big muscle groups get stretched and loose, I’d bet your piriformis can finally then “see” a stretch in those positions and you loosen up over time.  

Low, one leg step throughs after.   Turmeric every morning.  

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  • Baller

Awesome!  Thanks ballers.  I stretch before sessions for 5-10mins.  Looks like its time to make this a twice a day activity while adding a few yoga poses and some fitness gear to the mix.

Completely forgot about turmeric - thanks!  

Getting wiser…not older.  

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  • Baller

Are you sure it's your piriformis?  And if it is, are you sure it's tight and not just weak?  When does it hurt?  I went through a ton of rehab and PT for my piriformis and have it all loosey goosey, but I still have hip pain.  Turns out I have cam impingement and a torn labrum.  BUT I DID have piriformis issues in the past and this is what fixed me right up.

 

Figure 4 Piriformis stretch

Pigeon yoga pose stretch

Side lying leg clamshells with a resistance band - lift and hold for a 30 count instead of going up and down

Side lying leg raises with a resistance band

side-lying-leg-raises.jpg

Back bridges with a resistance band

glute-strengthening-exercise-Band-bridge

PLANKS PLANKS PLANKS

One leg woodpecker drill

I can't find video or pics for this, but my PT had me do it and it kicked my ass.  Put 4 pieces of tape on the wall in a square about 1 foot by 1 foot.  Stand on one leg about a foot from the wall.  Keep your abs tight and don't bend at the back.  Touch your nose to each piece of tape 10 times without bracing yourself or putting your other foot down.  Don't break your nose.  Also great for slalom balance. 

Edited by UWSkier
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  • Baller

I had a lot of trouble with Piriformis last season. No amount of stretching and PT seemed to work until I discovered what for me is the miracle stretch. Or actually a modification of a stretch I had been doing.  Lay on your left side, reach behind you and grasp your right ankle, with your back straight, pull up gently to stretch the thigh. The trick is to push your right hip forward as you do this to engage the sciatic nerve at your hip/back. Hold 15-20 seconds. Repeat on the other side. 
 

My Piriformis symptoms disappeared. I now do this stretch before and after skiing. This is the first season I have not had any pulls or strains requiring  PT.

 

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  • Baller

I’ve had piriformis syndrome for decades. If I do frequent stretching and hip openings exercises then I’m ok. Skiing is bad because of the muscle imbalance and the stretching/exercising becomes less effective as the season progresses.

the only thing that helps “reset” this cycle is an ART session. It’s a miracle.

https://activerelease.com

make sure you find a provider that specializes in sports injuries. Otherwise it’ll be just another version of a massage. Now many chiropractors also do ART and I’ve found that to be a good, but not necessary combination.

Edited by braindamage
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  • Baller

I had it a couple of years ago, diagnosed as such by my doctor. Wow, did it hurt!  I went to PT for a month or more, going through the complete protocol of progressive stretches and exercises. I can’t say anything really helped.  Except time. It seemed to go away as quickly as it started, never to return. (So far. Knock on wood).  It remains a bit of a mystery to me. 

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  • Baller

Thanks everyone for the tips on this.

Spent the offseason in the gym and seeing sport specific docs (chiro and lmt both who have experience skiing). Final conclusion was an impingement at lower spine due to pressure from skiing posture.  

Spine was not moving fluidly and the point of issue was right at the top of the sciatic nerve.  This was the cause of my piriformis issues.

A lot of stretching (see recos above) and cat/cow to keep things loose.  Will see what this year brings.  Thanks ski community!  

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