What are Yoga Asanas?
A tight piriformis is one of the major causes of sciatic pain. We look at the anatomy of the hip and which yoga poses can help.
In part one of this series I gave an overview of In this article we look in more detail at one of the major causes of sciatic pain:
We'll look first at the anatomy of the hip and the piriformis muscle and then which yoga poses can help with piriformis syndrome.
A brief anatomy of the hip
Whereas the shoulder girdle is a spacious and shallow joint comprised of three bones (clavicle, scapula and humerus) the hip girdle is comprised of only two: the femur in the socket (or acetabulum) of the ilium. This hip girdle is a heavily layered area of the body. It's made up of muscles, tendons, ligament, fascia, and fat - the qualities of these different aspects make it a very stable and strong part of the body:
- The ligaments holding the femur into the ilium are thick and strong.
- Numerous external rotator muscles (the piriformis being one of them) which move the femur are small and short, yet particularly strong.
- The layers of the buttock muscles (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus) that move the femur into flexion, abduction and internal/external rotation range from wide, thick and strong to smaller, multi-purposeful and also strong.
- The adductor muscles of the inner thigh are numerous and range from small (pectineus near the groin) to long and large (adductor magnus can act much like a hamstring).
- Lastly, the Ilio-Tibial band which helps support and stabilize the lateral femur, and many of the above mentioned muscles, is a thick, fibrous band that acts like both a ligament and a tendon.
All of these muscles work brilliantly together to encourage both movement of the femur in the hip socket (flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal and external rotation) and stability in the form of joint integration.