Piriformis Syndrome: Back Pain Relief For Firefighters


Piriformis Syndrome: Back Pain Relief For Firefighters

Piriformis Syndrome Back Pain Relief For Firefighters Is A Common Issue



Here is an interesting piece from John Hofman who is the strength and conditioning coach for the Sacramento (CA) Fire Department. He is an expert at piriformis syndrome back pain relief for firefighters.


This condition is an irritation of the sciatic nerve that causes referred pain into the buttocks – deep in the glute muscles. Firefighters typically get this condition as they are often working in awkward confined spaces with their lower back carrying loads.






Piriformis Syndrome: Back Pain Relief For Firefighters

Over the years, I have spent countless hours helping firefighters overcome their back pain. I am proud to say that the methods I used have been very successful, but there still seems to be one common problem associated with firefighting — piriformis syndrome (PS).


What is Piriformis Syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle irritates the sciatic nerve, causing pain in the buttocks and referring pain along the course of the sciatic nerve or lower back. Firefighters generally complain of pain deep in the glutes, which is made worse by sitting, climbing stairs, or performing squats. Just a note, the piriformis muscles lie deep in your glute, so many firefighters complain of weakness, stiffness, and a general restriction of movement, all of which are also quite common in sufferers of piriformis syndrome. You may even experience tingling and numbness in the legs.


Many firefighters often self-diagnose themselves with “sciatica.” When I assess them, more often than not, it generally is priformis syndrome. It is diagnosed primarily on the basis of symptoms and on the physical exam. There are no tests that accurately confirm the diagnosis, but X-rays, MRI, and nerve conduction tests may be necessary to exclude other disorders.


What causes it? Piriformis syndrome is predominantly caused by a shortening or tightening of the piriformis muscle. Although this tightening can be attributed to many causes, these causes can be categorized into two main groups: Overload (or training errors) and biomechanical inefficiencies. Firefighters often work in tight spaces, carry heavy loads, and climb ladders. All of these things over time will create some type of imbalance within our lumbo-pelvic region. Other reasons that it may occur are the following:


  • Exercising on hard surfaces, like concrete;
  • Exercising on uneven ground;
  • Beginning an exercise program after a long lay-off period;
  • Increasing exercise intensity or duration too quickly;
  • Exercising in worn-out or ill-fitting shoes;
  • Sitting for long periods of time;
  • Poor running or walking mechanics;
  • Tight, stiff muscles in the lower back, hips. and buttocks; and
  • Running or walking with your toes pointed out.



So now that we understand what it is – how do we best treat it? There are some simple exercises that can help get you relief from piriformis syndrome – and as always, the exercises are easy, jut the discipline required to get the technique right and carry them out consistently over several weeks is the difficult part.


Here are some ideas and a video from John Hofman showing you how to do the exercises:


How do I treat it? A very effective way to help treat PS is do the following:


1. Use the foam roller first: roll out you calfs, hamstrings, glutes, quads, tensor fascia lata, piriformis, and iliotibial band. (see video)



2. Once you “untie the knots,” you can stretch them. Perform the following stretch to create better hip mobility. Over time you should feel relief. Perform these activities one or two times daily (morning and night).


A good rule of thumb for assessing back pain is the followings:


  • If the pain is to the knee, it is usually is a muscular or sacroiliac joint problem.
  • If the pain goes to the foot, it generally is a disk problem.


Full article



So if you are  interested in in finding out about piriformis syndrome back pain relief for firefighters, you are now armed with some good information. It is wise to do research on certain causes and treatments for your lower back pain before you seek treatment so you are more aware of the situation before you see your doctor. However a little information is a dangerous thing, and it is always best to ask loads of question when you visit your doctor or back specialist so you get a more precise understanding of your condition.


You can also read books about it – we have a great free book all about back pain relief called the 7 Day Back pain cure – you can sign up for it while it is still available in the the top right of this page.


And be sure to like us on facebook below if the article was helpful to you or someone you know.




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