Often heard of from your running friends or your friend that is really into the gym the piriformis is a powerful but unnoticed muscle.
Piriformis syndrome is a rare and hotly debated issue in the medical community. Most cases of sciatica low back pain are not due to piriformis syndrome, however it could contribute to pain in the low back.
Before we go into piriformis syndrome lets discuss the piriformis muscle itself and its role in the syndrome.
The ACA states: “The piriformis is a flat, pear-shaped (literal translation from Latin: piri-pear, formis-shape) muscle that originates on the anterior sacrum and the sacrotuberous ligament. From its origin on the pelvis, it passes through the sciatic notch and inserts into the greater trochanter of the femur. The sciatic nerve passes between the piriformis and the ilium. The proposed theory is that a taut or anomalous piriformis will compress the sciatic nerve and cause sciatic neuralgia that may mimic disc-related sciatica. Myofascial manipulation, therapeutic modalities, ergonomic modification and stretching (Figure 3) have been recommended by a host of lecturers, authors and clinicians as the treatment of this spectral diagnosis.”
What is a piriformis syndrome?
Piriformis syndrome is pain that is no precise and often located in the hip, buttocks and distal part of the leg (like a sciatic pain). In 20% of the population the piriformis splits and the sciatic nerve runs through that split. That 20% of the population is much more susceptible to piriformis syndrome due to anatomy. Piriformis syndrome effects women more than men in a ratio of 6:1.
What causes piriformis syndrome?
The cause of piriformis syndrome is varied but can be:
- Prolonged sitting
- High activity level sports such as skiing, tennis or long-distance bikers
- Anatomical variance
What are the symptoms of piriformis syndrome?
- The symptoms of piriformis syndrome vary from person to person but can include:
- Chronic pain in the buttocks
- Pain when rising from a seated position
- Pain increased with moving the leg off to the side or moving the leg back and forth
- Inability to sit without pain
What are the treatments for piriformis syndrome?
When treating piriformis syndrome time is important. This is a muscle that does a fair amount of movement and is aggravated. If a patient continues aggravating activities during treatment then the time for healing is longer. With that said treatment for piriformis syndrome are:
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Physical therapy
- Myofascial release techniques (such as cupping)
- At home exercises
- TENS unit
If you are experiencing piriformis syndrome and wish to discuss your treatments options, please schedule your appointment today.