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HOW TO TREAT PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME: THE ROLE OF THE SEAT CUSHION

  • 7 min read

If you have ever experienced a pinching or painful feeling in your buttock or hip area, you may be suffering from piriformis syndrome.

Piriformis syndrome is a type of pain caused by compression on the sciatic nerve, which arises from the buttocks and travels down the leg.

The symptoms include pain in the posterior buttock thigh and sometimes radiating down the back of the leg.

It can be caused by anything from an injury to sitting improperly. Piriformis syndrome is a common cause of lower back pain that can also get worse when sitting for long periods.

Luckily, there are several different seat cushions for piriformis syndrome that can help you relieve pain and fast-track your treatment. By providing you with more comfort and support, these seat cushions offer relief from symptoms such as lower back pain and muscle spasms.

You can also find out about other ways to reduce your risk of developing piriformis syndrome, like avoiding prolonged periods of sitting or crossing one leg over another while seated.

Read on for all you need to know about the best seat cushions for piriformis syndrome and how to choose the best one for yourself!

 

What is Piriformis Syndrome?

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a common cause of pain and numbness in the buttocks. It can also lead to sciatica, which is when the sciatic nerve becomes irritated, causing pain that radiates down the back of the leg.


The pain may be felt as a pinching sensation around the hip area or a sharp, stabbing sensation between the buttocks.

There are many factors that may contribute to piriformis syndrome, including a lack of physical activity, injury, too much sitting, and wearing high-heeled shoes.

 

What to do if you have piriformis syndrome?

If you have been diagnosed with piriformis syndrome, the first thing that you should do is see your doctor for a diagnosis.

Your doctor can inform you of your options for treatment and what steps to take next. In some cases, surgery will be necessary to relieve the pressure in the sciatic nerve caused by this condition.

If surgery is not an option, there are things that you can do to help alleviate discomfort while sitting. Initially, make physical changes to your workspace or home.

This may include adding a footrest to your work desk, switching from sitting on a chair to a standing position at your desk, or replacing your old chair with a more ergonomically designed one.

Finally, there's another important aspect of finding relief from piriformis syndrome: choosing the right seat cushion for piriformis syndrome!

The most effective seat cushion for piriformis syndrome will provide support for the buttocks and spine while still being comfortable enough so that prolonged sitting doesn't become unbearable.

These seat cushions can help alleviate pressure on your piriformis muscle while also improving posture and alignment in your lower back.

Seat cushion for piriformis syndrome like these is especially helpful if you find yourself slouching forward while seated or standing after long periods of time due to pain in this area.


How does sitting in a bad posture for a long time can cause piriformis syndrome?

seat cushions for piriformis syndrome

Sitting for long periods of time can cause piriformis syndrome.

The piriformis muscle is located at the back of the hip. When you sit for too long in a bad posture without any support, it becomes tight it can compress the sciatic nerve.

This causes pain and numbness in the buttocks, thigh, and lower leg.

This is also worsened by wearing high-heeled shoes or any type of shoe that forces your feet into a fixed position.

The best way to avoid this condition is to take breaks from sitting and stretch your muscles regularly. You should also make sure that you wear comfortable clothing that doesn't restrict movement.


How can seat cushions help with the symptoms of piriformis syndrome?

seat cushions for piriformis syndrome

There are many different types of seat cushions for piriformis syndrome, and a right seat cushion that is suitable for you can help to reduce the symptoms of piriformis syndrome by providing you with more comfort and support to your back and tailbone.

Seat cushions also provide relief from back pain and muscle spasms that may come with piriformis syndrome.


How to choose the best seat cushion for you?

Seat cushions come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can also have different fillings inside them. But you want to make sure you choose the right one so it can provide enough support for your needs.


To find the best seat cushion for piriformis syndrome that is suitable for you, you need to know about your options.


Types of seat cushions

Memory foam seat cushion:

 seat cushions for piriformis syndrome

Memory foam is made from a substance called viscoelastic, which is both highly energy absorbent and soft.

It molds to the shape of your body in response to heat or pressure, evenly distributing weight to the surface, then returns into its original form once removed.

Memory foam was first created for rocket seats by NASA during the mid-1960s, but it now also served as cushioning in helmets, shoes, and seating pads for people who are severely disabled.

Due to its countless benefits, memory foam is also used in seat cushions. A memory foam seat cushion for piriformis syndrome is a more supportive option that reduces pressure on the back when sitting for long periods by evenly distributing the weight of your body.

It also helps align your spine when seated and supports muscles in this region when seated for long periods.

 

Gel seat cushion:

 seat cushions for piriformis syndrome

A gel cushion, also known as a honeycomb seat cushion, is made of rubber.

First seen on a tv show, this type of seat cushion was very popular at one time but slowly lost its popularity due to its lower quality and bad odor problems.

This type of seat cushion is also comparatively heavier than other types of the seat cushion, which makes it less portable.

The gel seat cushion has a honeycomb design that is helpful to adsorbed pressure from your back and tailbone area.

They are also a cheaper option if you are looking for a seat cushion for piriformis syndrome on a budget.

Inflatable seat cushion:

 seat cushions for piriformis syndrome

An inflatable seat cushion is a less popular seat cushion for piriformis syndrome, which is made of cells and is inflated with air to ensure a good fit for each user.

Air can travel between cells, allowing it to contour or lock against users as they move about. It provides shock absorption and is lightweight while also being more expensive than other types of seat cushions for piriformis syndrome.

Cells will occasionally deflate- requiring refilling - which can be irritating because manual pumps must be used to inflate them correctly to use them effectively.

It does require higher maintenance from knowledgeable users who know how much air should be used for maximum comfort because underinflating may cause decreased performance, and overinflating may damage the seat cushion.


Other Considerations

Size

The first thing to consider when choosing a seat cushion is size. Choose a seat cushion that will fit your chair's size.

Compare the size of the seat cushion to the size of your chair or wherever you want to use them to make sure they fit.


Firmness

Another thing to consider is firmness. Soft cushioning materials are usually more comfortable, but they may not offer enough support if your piriformis syndrome is severe or chronic.

If this is the case, then a firmer cushion would be better suited for your needs because it will still give some comfort and more support.


Fillings

This will be your main deciding factor while choosing for best seat cushions for piriformis syndrome. As mentioned earlier, there are many different filling materials available, including memory foam, gel, and air.

For piriformis syndrome, consider memory foam seat cushions as opposed to seat cushions that have other fillings.

Sitting on a memory foam seat cushion can be therapeutic. This is because it does not squish flat like most other foams or cushion types do.

The memory foam molds to your body's shape so that you get a customized experience of comfort!

 

Final Thoughts

Before purchasing a seat cushion for piriformis syndrome, there are also a few things to keep in mind.

You want to look for a cushion that has the right amount of firmness to support your body.

The cushion should prevent you from crossing your legs while sitting. Some seat cushions are designed to keep your legs separate and prevent contact between your legs.

It should prevent you from slouch or hunched sitting position & keep you in a natural healthy sitting posture.


How to Reduce the Risk of Developing Piriformis Syndrome?

The best way to avoid developing piriformis syndrome is by taking care of your body. Make sure you're getting enough restoration time for your muscles and joints, which will help prevent injury.

Use seat cushions that provide support for the back and the hips.

If you already have piriformis syndrome, one option is to take medications like NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or localized injections; this would be determined by the severity of your condition.

Another option is performing stretches or exercises for both hip extensors and hip flexors; however, this may not be possible for everyone with piriformis syndrome because it requires enough range of motion.

Lastly, consider investing in a good seat cushion designed for back problems or sciatica relief. These seat cushions can be very helpful while living with piriformis syndrome.


The following are some other ways to help prevent/reduce the symptoms of piriformis syndrome.

  • Avoid prolonged periods of sitting or crossing one leg over another while seated.
  • Get up periodically, stretch the muscle by extending your heel up over your top thigh and use a belt to assist with this stretch if necessary.
  • Use heat to soothe the area after exercise but avoid it before exercise as you might feel too relaxed and may not be able to get into your workout routine.
  • Massage the muscles gently in a circular motion with your thumb and fingers just below the buttocks and on both sides of the spine.
  • Try an ice pack wrapped in a towel and apply it for 15 minutes at a time, several times per day.


Conclusion

If you are struggling with piriformis syndrome, it is important that you find the right seat cushion to give you the relief you need.

A seat cushion for piriformis syndrome should be firm but not too hard, should have good spine support, and be comfortable for all-day sitting.

The best seat cushion for piriformis syndrome is one that supports your lower back and tailbone, offers a slight lumbar curve, improves your posture and blood flow, has good breathability, and is made of quality memory foam.

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