Everyone’s pain triggers are bioindividual - but have you looked at what’s on your feet?

Everyone’s pain triggers are bioindividual - but have you looked at what’s on your feet?

I’m constantly testing and learning on my health journey, particularly living with endometriosis and some health challenges. My pain is better under control than it has ever been before, but sometimes I do find something that triggers it or I have a flare-up that has been caused by something new.

I have always thought that I get sciatica-related endo pain for a long time because of the types and areas of pain that I experience. Recently, though, I worked out a new trigger! I realized that my sciatica pain is actually related to my piriformis muscle - and this is getting triggered every time I wear flat or non-supported shoes. Crazy! 

So, for those of you that don’t know how sciatica works. Sciatica is basically a nerve pain that starts in your buttocks and runs down the back of either one or both of your legs. It’s usually caused by pressure or irritation of all of the nerves and nerve networks in your lower back, and they turn on and get aggravated and angry which is the pain that you feel. A lot of people overlook the piriformis muscle though and since learning about it, that some of us can be struggling with piriformis syndrome without realizing - a condition that causes added pressure on those nerves too that cause sciatica.

It’s this piriformis muscle that has been getting triggered without me even knowing! When I walk in flat shoes or wear flat shoes that don’t have proper support for my arch, my sciatica gets triggered, and that’s because my whole piriformis muscle gets activated and can go into spasm. If you cup the arch of your foot and make it feel secure, safe and supported, then the piriformis muscle totally relaxes, and the pain dissipates. Everything is interconnected. I thought this was crazy and such an amazing connection. I really don’t think many people will make this connection or look at it as a solution for pain so I wanted to share this with you guys in case it helps you too.

There are tons of ways to deal with piriformis syndromes, some of them quite severe like surgery! Most people release on focusing the piriformis muscle through massage, PT, manual therapy or bodywork. This can be really helpful but insanely painful, imagine someone digging an elbow or fist into the muscle. For me, while I love and fully support body work I prefer to try and work the piriformis muscle myself more frequently and so I can keep on top of it or when it gets triggered. I do this by doing lots of band work ( Make sure the bands are strong), gentle stretching, and working into the swan pose whenever I can. I also am very careful with my exercise regime so as not to trigger any of these nerves or muscles further.

Linked here is a key type of exercise you need to be doing if you think you might be struggling with nerve or muscle-related sciatica or piriformis syndrome - endo related or not. It's been insanely helpful for me, it really hits the spot.

Finding a new trigger around my footwear was a big wake up call for me to assess what’s going on my feet, the type of footwear I'm purchasing and how it impacts the rest of my body.

I hope this is helpful and some food for thought! 

Love Jena x