What is Piriformis Syndrome?

What is Piriformis Syndrome?

The piriformis is a flat muscle that extends from the lower spine to the top of the thighs. It assists with virtually all motions of the lower body, and part of the sciatic nerve is typically located just beneath it. 

In some patients, the piriformis muscle becomes injured, swollen, or irritated, leading to a condition known as piriformis syndrome. In this article, we’ll explore piriformis syndrome, its symptoms, and how it can be treated. 

Defining Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a condition that occurs when the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve. It can develop on one or both sides of the body, and it can cause symptoms in the lower back, buttock(s), and back of the leg(s).  

It can be difficult to differentiate between piriformis syndrome and sciatica, as both involve the sciatic nerve. However, the symptoms of sciatica can extend all the way down the leg, and it may be caused by spinal conditions like spinal stenosis or a slipped disc. Piriformis syndrome involves similar symptoms, but affects a more particular area of the body. Additionally, the most common causes of piriformis syndrome are muscle spasms, scar tissue, and inflammation of the piriformis or the surrounding tissues.

What Are The Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome generally causes symptoms in the hip, upper leg, or buttocks, including:

  • Pain
  • Aching
  • Numbness
  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Shooting 

These symptoms may be exacerbated by walking, running, sitting for prolonged periods, and climbing stairs. 

How is Piriformis Syndrome Treated?

Piriformis syndrome typically goes away within a few days or weeks with at-home care and rest. In some cases, patients may need additional treatments, such as anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, or massage therapy. Very rarely, surgery is required to alleviate pressure on the sciatic nerve by removing scar tissue. 

If you’re struggling with symptoms of piriformis syndrome, schedule an appointment at Hernando Orthopaedic for a personalized treatment plan.