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Strain in Adductors When Stretching Piriformis


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I feel an intense pressure/strain in my adductors when stretching my right piriformis, which is extremely tight. I do not think that I am activating those muscles, but it feels as if I'm squeezing the life out of them, even when I am just pulling on my knee with my hands or straightening my spine in the seated stretch. It is especially strong higher up, in the groin. Even lying supine and gently pulling my knee across my body triggers the same intense feeling. It does not make the stretch feel good or comfortable. My left piriformis is much more flexible and I do not feel the strain on the adductors when stretching that side. What could be causing this, and how could I remedy it?

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This effect is much more common than perhaps you might think, @KK1. Try this:

If you are doing the chair version, hop off and immediately do the floor version of the hip flexor stretch (you'll find this on our YouTube channel)—it might be that you are squashing that muscle as you pull the leg across the body. As well, as Olivia replied to you (our emails crossed over as they so often do!), you must be really careful to not use the leg muscles to help you get the leg into position—doing so uses adductors and hip flexors in their most-shortened position, and they can easily cramp. Again, if that does happen, do a hip flexor stretch, then open out the back leg's hip (so, cheating, but for this purpose) and stretch the adductors, too.

Then get back on the chair, and leg that leg go completely soft, and use only your hands and arms to get the leg into position. And, sometimes, before you even get into the stretch position, press the folded leg's knee away from you gently while holding the knee; this can relax those same muscles.

Last point is that sometimes you'll need to go back and forth between the floor exercises and the one you want to do, before the brain gets the message, "don't need to cramp!". Please let us know how you go. 

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