The piriformis muscle resides deep to your gluteal muscles. It is a smallish triangular muscle that attaches from your tailbone (sacrum) to your hip bone (femur).
The piriformis is responsible for helping with external rotation of the thigh. This muscle likes to get overly tight when you drive, sit for too long in a figure four position, or are stressed. There are other things that can cause this muscle to get too tight but these are the most common causes that I see in my practice. When this muscle gets too tight it feels like a burning sensation in your gluteal area. If this muscle gets tight enough it can cause pseudo sciatica. Pseudo sciatica feel exactly the same as sciatica but the findings on your exam will be different between the two and how one goes about treating it is different. Symptoms of Pseudo sciatica include pain going down your leg, numbness down your leg, and/or tingling down your leg.
The most common problem with the piriformis muscle is tightness. Stretching is the best way to take care of your piriformis muscle. If you do a lot of sitting, driving, or stressing you should stretch your piriformis daily. There are a lot of great ways to stretch the piriformis muscle. Here are a few of my favorites.