Piriformis Syndrome Pain


This article looks at Piriformis Syndrome. Although somewhat similar to sciatica, Piriformis Syndrome pain is an uncommon neuro-muscular disorder associated with pain in the initial stages, and numbness and tingling in the buttocks. Sometimes the pain can radiate right down to the end of the sciatic nerve because of compression of the nerve by the piriformis muscles. This may happen due to long hours of sitting, driving, climbing stairs, and any other activities, which directly pressurize the Piriformis muscles.



Piriformis Syndrome Pain

Piriformis syndrome irritates the sciatic nerve, causing sciatica pain and pain in the lower back.

It is an unfamiliar ailment to the average person, and in fact, it is an uncommon neuro-muscular disorder. However, the symptoms are quite similar to that of sciatica. It is where the piriformis muscle irritates the sciatic nerve and causes pain in the rear, and may cause pain along the back of the leg and into the foot.


The piriformis muscle:


• Starts at the lower spine and connects to the upper surface of each femur (thighbone).


• Functions to assist in rotating the hip.


• Runs horizontally, with the sciatic nerve running vertically directly beneath it.


Piriformis syndrome can develop when the piriformis muscle becomes tight or spasmodic, and places pressure on the sciatic nerve.


Signs and Symptoms


Piriformis syndrome usually starts with pain, tingling, or numbness in the buttocks. Pain can be severe and extend down the length of the sciatic nerve (called sciatica). The pain is from the piriformis muscle compressing the sciatic nerve, such as while sitting on a car seat or running. Pain may also be triggered while climbing stairs, applying firm pressure directly over the piriformis muscle, or sitting for long periods of time. Most cases of sciatica, however, are not due to piriformis syndrome.



A physical exam will include examination of the hip and legs to see if movement causes increased low back pain or leg pain (sciatica pain). Typically, motion of the hip will recreate the pain.


X-rays and other spinal imaging studies cannot detect if the sciatic nerve is being irritated at the piriformis muscle. However, diagnostic tests (such as X-rays, MRI and nerve conduction tests) may be conducted to exclude other conditions that can cause similar symptoms to piriformis syndrome like disc herniation, for example.


Depending on the severity of the patient’s sciatica-type pain and other symptoms, a number of treatment options may be recommended by a health care professional. A comprehensive approach to managing pain along the sciatic nerve from piriformis syndrome may include a combination of:


• Stretching


• Icing the area


• Heat therapy


• Physical therapy


• Medication


• Injections


• Electrical therapy


Read more of the article



It is only through conducting tests to exclude other symptoms similar to Piriformis syndrome that a conclusion may be arrived at determining back pain to be due to an uncommon neuro-muscular disorder known as Piriformis Syndrome pain. Although the symptoms are somewhat similar to Sciatica, here the Piriformis muscle comes into play by compressing the Sciatic nerve.

While managing this type of pain, you may need a combination of stretching, icing the areas, heat, electrical and physical therapy, medication, and injections. Causes and diagnosis of this type of Piriformis Syndrome have been outlined, which educates us from abstaining to do any activity that may be damaging to the Piriformis muscle. Give attention to proper posture while driving, climbing, sitting, and running to help alleviate the issue.



Dr. Stephen Gangemi, aka the “Sock Doc” discusses some natural and effective ways to deal with low back, hip, and leg pain as well as what is known as piriformis syndrome.




Many people diagnosed with “sciatica” – pain that runs from their buttocks to their feet – may actually have piriformis syndrome. In this video Dr. Aaron Filler of the Institute for Nerve Medicine in Santa Monica, California, explains further.





lower back pain



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