There are 3 muscles that can make sciatica pain pop up out of no-where, regardless if you've had an injury, live an active life, or barley moved from the couch.
Those 3 muscles are the Psoas, The Quadratus Lumborum, and the Piriformis. And in today's video, I'm going to be talking about how these muscles create your sciatica and how to get rid of it.
To understand how the Psoas creates sciatica and lower back pain, you first need to understand that a muscle's only job is to move the body through space and time. I bring this up because your muscles don't have the slightest clue whether you're picking up a 1 pound dumbbell or your cellphone. All it knows is you're telling the arm to move with something in your hand. Your muscle has a good memory, but it's not smart.
Your muscle has a good memory, but it's not smart.
With this in mind, you need to begin asking yourself. Anytime I take a seat, am I sitting down, or very easily hanging out at the bottom of a squat?
Regardless of how you want to look at it, you are technically contracting your psoas muscle all day long (along with other muscles). When you sit, you are "training" your Psoas to become locked in this position. That's the same exact thing as holding your bicep in the flexed position for hours on end. That can't be good for your elbow, so why should it be good for your lower back?
Now because your Psoas is tight and overactive, what ends up happening is it pulls down on the front of the pelvis, creating an anterior tilt.
The Bowel with Water
I'm sure a lot of you have seen or heard the example of your pelvis being like a bowl filled with water and having it tip out means you have bad posture. Let me elaborate on why.
When the front of the pelvis tips forward (water pouring out), the back of the pelvis moves up just like a seesaw and ends up getting jammed into the spine, creating compression. This is how years of sitting can lead to things like lower back pain, the sciatic nerve getting compressed, and even faster wear and tear within the spine that could lead to a herniated disk.
To learn how to release this tight muscle, check out the video below. If you want to learn more advanced techniques and go through a short program that addresses all the muscles, causing your sciatica and lower back pain, click here.
When the Psoas gets tight, it will pull the front of the pelvis down, and because the pelvis acts like a seesaw, this will force the back of the pelvis to move up and compress the spine, creating sciatica.
The Quadratus Lumborum
The second muscle is the Quadratus Lumborum or QL. This muscle sits on the backside of the body and is attached to the spine, ribs, and pelvis. What's interesting about this muscle is it will help pull up the back of the pelvis when it gets overactive.
So not only do you have the Psoas pulling down on the front, but you also have the QL pulling up on the back of it, creating even more compression within the spine.
Because there's 2 of them (one on each side), you may end up having one become more overactive, creating an imbalance within your spine. This happens because we tend to have a habit of leaning to one side more than the other.
- Do you have a favorite spot you like to sit in while watching tv or driving?
- Do you find yourself leaning or twisted in one direction?
If so, then chances are you might have one QL that's tighter than the other.
Learn how to release this tight muscle by watching the video below.
The QL can contribute to bad posture because it may be pulling your hips into your spine, creating compression. There's also a good chance you will have one side that's tighter than the other, creating an imbalance within your pelvis.
The final muscle is the Piriformis. This muscle is located right behind your glute muscle and can be the main reason for shooting pain in the glutes and down the leg. When this muscle gets tight, it will end up compressing on the sciatic nerve, causing pain. What ends up happening is the Piriformis will end up getting overactive because it ends up getting used just as much as the Psoas and QL.
This muscle is tricky because it does multiple things but only at certain angles.
- When the hip is neutral (standing tall), the Piriformis performs external rotation within the hip.
- When the hip is at about 45⁰ of flexion, it performs abduction.
- When it pasts 90⁰, the Piriformis becomes an internal rotator of the hip.
Squatting with Pain
Besides sitting down with your legs spread, the Piriformis can also get overactive when you perform squats because this muscle performs 2/3rds of the same actions as your glutes. The only thing it can't do is extend the hip.
When you start a squat, your hips are usually externally rotated and slightly abducted. But a lot of us who end up squatting will end up having our knees cave-in at the bottom of the squat. Not only does this tell us the adductors are tight, but the Piriformis may be tight as well because it performs internal rotation past 90⁰.
And if you haven't figured it out yet, standing up from the very the bottom of a squat it most difficult part, which means you're going to be using all the muscles you need to stand up. This includes the Piriformis during the entire repetition.
What if my knees don't cave in at the bottom of a squat?
Sadly, the Piriformis can still create compression on the sciatic nerve by being stretched out. Much like a rubber band tightening in the middle as you pull it apart, the muscle will act similarly if you sit with your legs crossed or inward.
You can learn how to release this muscle the right way by watching the video below. But if you want to completely eliminate your sciatica pain, then you need to go through my 4-week program. Click here to check it out.
Because most of us sit down with our legs spread or enjoy squatting, we usually end up having an overactive Piriformis. When this muscle gets tight, it will compress on the sciatic nerve, causing pain.