The Perfect Piriformis

Piriformis

The piriformis is a busy muscle. It is involved in almost every motion of the hips and legs.

The piriformis muscle is a flat, band-like muscle located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint. This muscle is important in lower body movement because it stabilizes the hip joint and lifts and rotates the thigh away from the body. The piriformis enables us to walk, shift our weight from one foot to another, and maintain balance. It is also used in sports that involve lifting and rotating the thighs.

Specifically, the piriformis muscle is part of the lateral rotators of the hip, along with the quadratus femoris, gemellus inferior, gemellus superior, obturator externus, and obturator internus. The piriformis laterally rotates the femur with hip extension and abducts the femur with hip flexion. Abduction of the flexed thigh is important in the action of walking because it shifts the body weight to the opposite side of the foot being lifted, which keeps us from falling. The action of the lateral rotators can be understood by crossing your legs to rest an ankle on the knee of the other leg. This causes the femur to rotate and point the knee laterally. The lateral rotators also oppose medial rotation by the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. When the hip is flexed to 90 degrees, piriformis abducts the femur at the hip (Netter’s Clinical Anatomy, 2010)

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When to Get a Sports Massage

Sports massage was originally developed to help athletes prepare their bodies for optimal performance, recover after a big event, or function well during training. Sports massage keeps you flexible and your motions fluid, while helping with the prevention and healing of injuries to the muscles and tendons.

Of course, you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from sports massage. Sports massage is also great for people with stiffness, minor injuries, chronic pain or restricted range of motion.

The massage therapist generally concentrates on a specific problem area, like neck, shoulders, or lower back, rather than a full-body massage (but there are exceptions).  They borrow techniques from a range of massage modalities, including  Swedish massage, that stimulates circulation of blood and lymph fluids and trigger point therapy to break down muscle knots and increase range of motion. Sports massage can be done on a table or mat with the client in loose-fitting clothes, or disrobed to their comfort level.

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Therapeutic Massage is Different

Recent studies have added to the body of knowledge showing definite positive physiological and clinical changes related to properly performed, targeted therapeutic massage.

The term therapeutic massage is a general, nonspecific term referring to any type of massage, from superficial to deep, that may have a healing effect. Most massage therapists train in multiple techniques and therapies, but and there is high variability in the training programs and in what therapies practitioners choose to learn.

Techniques in a therapeutic massage vary according to need and may include massage from several modalities during the session, including effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement, fascial manipulation, structural integration, active release, Swedish, sports, shiatsu,deep tissue, myofascial release, and advanced neuromuscular therapy.

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Massage Can Improve Range of Motion

Your body is constructed around a bony skeleton composed of roughly 206 bones, which are jointed to one another. Skeletal muscles attach to two or more bones that are joined through one or more joints. Contraction of these muscles crossing their respective joints powers the movement of the bones, pivoting at their joints. Muscles tend to work in pairs, across joints, each muscle of the pair pulling opposite to its partner.

When muscles become tense due to stressors of any kind, both muscles of a pair partially contract and shorten, putting pressure across the joint(s) the muscles cross. This tension reduces the potential range of motion (ROM) at the joint(s), because part of the dynamic range of the muscles is already reached.  Continue reading “Massage Can Improve Range of Motion”

It’s About How You SIT

howtositHow you sit when you’re working is something 100% in your control.  Poor sitting posture can result in lower back injuries and contribute to the poor positioning of other parts of the body, such as the arms, wrists, and legs.  You can make some small changes that can have a big impact on your posture and in turn reduce chronic pain in your arms, fingers, lower back and legs.

There are three main factors that influence your sitting posture: vision, reach, and postural support.

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