I'm new to this forum so I'm going to start by giving a short summary of who I am and what I do:)
24 year old Norwegian master student in Engineering
-Did powerlifting type training for about 2 years
-Got involved in crossfit for 0.5-1year
-Is now focusing on gymnastics (doing the foundation series of gymnasticbodies, so I'm one of the guys looking forward to you pancake-stretch program) twice a week, olympic style squatting three times a week and a general fooling around day once a week where I do what I feel like (mostly gymnastics, and recently some boulderign). All heavily influenced by the works of Ido Portal
Back pain story:
-Last spring/summer - Mild back pain acting up from time to time - Immediately solved by stretching the hip flexors
-Last fall, severe back pain - Physician said it was a disc protrusion - Did a lot of stretching and stabilization exercises for the spine that gradually "fixed it"
-When the pain that was supposedly from a disc protrusion acted up, I noticed that by either releasing the tensor fascia latae, the gluteus medius/piriformis, or both, my aching back would let go completely. I did this using a lacrosse ball, and would be fine for the rest of the day, and sometimes even throughout the next one too. As an extra piece of information, I have no problem squatting all the way down to the point where my hamstrings meet my calves without rounding the lower back.
Now to the point of this post:
Having read through a lot of these posts, and read some of your written work, it seems like the piriformis plays a key role to achieve good form on a lot of lower body stretches. I have previously read a lot on stretching and back pain, and from my "studies" I have suspected that piriformis syndrom might have played a significant role in my back pain history. Whenever I have had a stiff lower back, releasing the piriformis and/or the tfl always seem to be the answer. For that reason I tried out your newest piriformis stretch as a means for a more permanent solution. When doing it, and for some time afterwards, my back tightened up severly. It would have to be described as hip/lower back numbness and discomfort. My piriformis seemed tight as well, as if trying to resist the stretch (even after stretching).
Does my suspected diagnosis seem reasonable, and how would the best approach for me be to handle that pesky piriformis? I have no intention of aggravating more back again, though neither do I intent on letting the piriformis and tfl keeping tightening up like they do.
I have a lot of stuff regarding stretching that I'd like to discuss further with the forum members (hint: loaded stretching, strength and mobility, and the works of Thomas Kurz for those who are familiar with it), but that will be for another post:)