Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Piriformis - huh?

Piriformis is the name of the little sucker that as caused the pain in my butt and my old nemesis "sciatica" to rear it's ugly head. Unlike my last bout with sciatica which was a spinal issue that was corrected by a skilled surgeon (as opposed to a butcher) this latest little problem is under my control.

Through my research and reading the BROL forums I have discovered the secrets of the Piriformis. It's a muscle that makes up the group of muscles called the Gluteus Maximus. A small percentage of us are unfortunate enough to have the sciatic nerve run through this small muscle.

Riding a recumbent cycle not only strengthens the piriformis along with the other muscles taking up residence in the butt region but it can also cause irritation and down right pain. For the few of us "lucky ones" when this muscle is sore and irritated it can cause pinching of the sciatic nerve sending pain down the leg. Bad news is that both of my muscles are sore. Good news is that the piriformis is only messing with my sciatic nerve on my right side. Yippee!

But wait...there is more good news...really ...there is!  The problem is not beyond being managed.
The remedy:
1. Stretch before and after riding.
2. Stretch everyday even if not riding.
3. Strengthen core muscles (alot of fun).
4. Take easier rides for awhile. For me this means pulling less weight and leave Betzi and her trailer at home or find rides with less elevation gain.
5. More stretching.
6. Take Ibuprofen cause I'm getting too old to suffer.
7. Patience.

UPDATE 3/30/11: Left side pain turned out to be torn cartilage in my hip. Slice and dice time.

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