The piriformis muscle is a flat, band-like muscle that runs across the buttock and laterally rotates the hip. It runs from the anterior (front) of the sacrum to the head of the femur (the bony notch on the outside of your hip, the top of your upper leg.) The piriformis is a very important muscle clinically because the sciatic nerve runs right alongside the piriformis. In about 15-17% of the population, the sciatic nerve actually runs through the piriformis muscle. This means that stress or injury to the piriformis muscle can irritate the sciatic nerve, and cause sciatica. When the piriformis muscle is the cause of sciatic pain, the condition is called piriformis syndrome.
When people find out that I am an acupuncturist, one common question is “So, what are the most common things you treat?” I tend to rattle off some of the common ailments that bring people in for acupuncture – back pain, neck pain, headaches and migraines, sciatica, hormonal issues, infertility, ADD, anxiety, trouble sleeping. But then I also make sure to explain that acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system, and as such, we can use it to treat a whole myriad of symptoms, diseases, and health imbalances. So it is always worth calling an acupuncturist and finding out if they may be able to help you.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about how to boost immunity and stay healthy. Here are some tips from Chinese Medicine about how to keep yourself healthy throughout the year, and how to give your body the most resources possible to fight off any diseases or illnesses.
Frozen Shoulder, or “adhesive capsulitis” refers to a painful musculoskeletal condition characterized by pain and stiffness of the shoulder joint. The tendons, bones, and ligaments that make up the shoulder joint are encased in a connective tissue, fluid-filled capsule. In cases of Frozen Shoulder, this capsule thickens and tightens around the shoulder joint and/or the fluid becomes thicker, restricting movement and causing pain. It is somewhat of a medical mystery – we don’t exactly know why Frozen Shoulder occurs, and it presents differently in different people. Frozen Shoulder tends to gradually get worse with time, and then gradually gets better. Some people have symptoms for up to 2 years. For some patients, the stiffness is merely annoying – for other patients, pain levels can be incredibly severe and the pain can interfere with sleep, work, driving, and activities of daily living. You are more likely to develop Frozen Shoulder if you are recovering from a procedure that immobilizes the joint for a period of time, such as surgery or a mastectomy. Frozen Shoulder is also more common in middle aged individuals – in certain countries in Asia it is referred to as “40-year shoulder” or “50-year shoulder.”
The Tensor Fasciae Latae is a small but powerful muscle of the lateral hip. It originates from the side of your pelvis, and inserts itself into the IT Band – a dense band of connective tissue that runs from your hip down your lateral thigh to just below your knee. The Tensor Fasciae Latae (or TFL) is an important hip stabilizer, keeping one foot in front of the other as you walk. It also abducts the hip (lifting your leg out to the side away from your center), as well as flexes the hip and internally rotates the thigh. The TFL works in conjunction with many of the larger muscles of the hip to perform these important tasks.
Anxiety is a very common issue that we treat in our clinic using acupuncture and herbs. While anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at one time or another. However, for individuals with anxiety disorders, the anxiety can affect their ability to function in their day to day life. Anxiety disorders are conditions that cause people to feel excessively frightened, stressed, worried, or upset, in situations where others would likely not experience the same feelings. There are numerous types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. Anxiety disorders are very common – they affect about 20% of the US population at any given time. Individuals without a diagnosed anxiety disorder may also experience intense anxiety in certain situations – before a big test, for example.
But acupuncture and Chinese Medicine therapies are not just for elite athletes. They are used by weekend warriors, marathoners, high school and college athletes, kids hurt on the soccer or football field, and those parents just getting back into a work-out routine.