The piriformis is a very important muscle that is located deep in the gluteal (buttock) region. The function of this muscle is to externally rotate the leg. This muscle can spasm in response to injury in a nearby region. An injury to the lower back following a car accident is a common occurrence. If there is a sprain in the sacroiliac joint (this is near the hip on the lower back), the piriformis commonly is spasming in response to the injury.
When this muscle is tight and painful it can not only produce local pain but it can also cause pain down the back of the leg. This pain down the leg can be related to the sciatic nerve. The piriformis crosses over the nerve so changes in the piriformis can affect the sciatic nerve.
Stretching this muscle regularly becomes very important because it can reduce pain local pain and prevent pain from radiating down the back of the leg. The type of stretch used will change depending on the source of the pain. Visit a chiropractic office in your area for a physical exam and specifically tailored exercise for your auto injury.
A general stretch for the piriformis can be performed seated or while laying on your back. To stretch the right piriformis, cross your leg so the right ankle rests on the lower left thigh. If you are in a seated position, gently lean forward until you feel a gentle pulling sensation in the right gluteal region. If you are laying on your back gently pull your left thigh towards your head until you feel a stretch in the right gluteal region.
If this stretch aggravates your condition, stop immediately and consult your chiropractor about technique or possible injury in the area.