I know no one likes reading long posts so I’ll try to keep this abbreviated but I also want to provide adequate details for the most help, be patient please, I’m desperate!
So last August(2015) I had an incident while skydiving (it was my 20th or so jump and I suck at landing) I couldn’t get my landing flare right and this time the wind picked up perfect and slammed me into the ground, hard, on my right side. In the moment I was unable to feel my legs for about 15 seconds, but the long term I had a badly bruised tailbone and massive muscle soreness and bruising. As far as I could tell within 6 weeks I had healed and was able to continue skydiving and exercising tentatively within the first week after I hit the ground. I stayed away from barbell squats and anything heavy until I was sure there were no real threats but was back up and running in no time. Since the day of the incident I had a weird feeling in my right glutes… Almost as though my muscles weren’t quite connected, possibly a partial separation, something like that. But flexing my left glutes offers me a far greater response than my right side even today, particularly in my medius.
Flash forward to around June 2016. I had started pushing more in my leg lifts around April, but had only increased from about 135# squat/DL to 225 at my max. Starting June I started to get severe pain down my right leg. Once the pain blossomed into what I have today, it essentially perfectly reflected sciatica- dull ache and shooting pain down my leg from the middle of my butt down to my knee, calf, Achilles and ankle. I stretched and rubbed and rolled and stretched again and did some therapeutic exercises… It got so bad I couldn’t lift anymore. Lifting didn’t make it worse, I just couldn’t bear weight on my leg without pain. I couldn’t not bear weight without pain. I existed in a state of constant pain.
I finally got a referral to physical therapy. I’m in the military, so unless I fight really hard or have a special situation, I have to go to the clinic on my base. My first appointment with my PT had essentially given me what I already knew: I had Piriformis syndrome. Since the pain started in my glute and I have zero associative symptoms with any spinal injury, it was obviously the problem. She started my on essentially the same program had given myself: tissue massage grouped with strength exercises, ice, heat, etc.
After four sessions I had zero progress. I stopped going. I know this isn’t the right thing to have done and I should still be working the program, but I started doing some more in depth research into body mechanics and what causes Piriformis syndrome and it took me to this site, which provided me the first relief I’d had in almost 6months. An article here identifying Piriformis treatment taught me more about opposing muscle groups and tension relief. I started figuring out what other muscles in my leg might be causing my Piriformis to lock up.
I rolled out my TFL and my IT band and I could feel my Piriformis release instantly- it was like I had been holding my hand over an open flame and as I yelled and complained someone came over and took my hand off the fire. It blew my mind.
For weeks I rolled my leg out before and after every workout, and whenever it started feeling tight. The pain was banished to the past. I started lifting heavier this last November and the atrophy that came with the Piriformis syndrome started correcting. As long as I continue to roll out the side of my leg and lift maintaining a focus on stretching and added more adductor/abductor exercises, I keep it on the back burner.
The last couple weeks it’s starting to get inflamed again. I’m continuing to stretch, I’ve started doing yoga regularly, rolling, and keeping my strength up (I currently can squat 275 for 5 and am working on a 315 PR, I DL 335 last week, along with a consistent diet of accessory exercises, SLDL, RDL, extentions, curls, single leg lifts, lunges, calf raises, etc. Etc… I have severe tightness in my hamstrings and calves as well as an inflamed achilles, along with Piriformis tension and pain, and since I identified my TFL and ITband as the original culprits, they have started to ache as well. I’m getting bruising on the side of my leg from the frequency and amount of pressure I have to put in order to release it every day and I have to roll out my calf now on top of this, it gets so tight sometimes it feels like it’ll snap.
It’s not unsustainable, for now. But I fear being placed in the same situation as I had a few months ago where my muscles atrophy and I lose my ability to lift legs. Everything is connected, I learned the truth to that so fast in this journey. If you have any ideas, or experience in this matter, please reach out to me. I’m afraid of being someone else who has to constantly manage their pain for the rest of their life. Thank you in advance!!