Piriformis Syndrome: A Sneaky Condition

When it comes to lower back pain, there are a lot of conditions that can mimic one another. This is very much the case with piriformis syndrome. This condition has many of the same presentations as sciatica symptoms. This is actually logical as it is a condition affecting the sciatic nerve. We will be discussing this shortly.

In many cases of uncomplicated back pain, your body will recover and heal itself with little or no intervention. Taking it easy for a bit while your body heals is always a good idea. However, there are reasons to consult with a qualified health practitioner if you have back pain, too.

While there are serious reasons, like cancer and other systemic disorders, organ dysfunction and the like, it is more common to have a physical-related pain condition. That is to say, you can usually find back pain relief through some form of physical treatment of your body.  So, while the treatment or care may be directed at the physical body, there are often other reasons or causes for how the pain shows up there. That is to say, back pain has many origins. This is why a workup or consultation with a health care practitioner is warranted. Your herniated disc symptoms can be differentiated from a more simple condition, with quicker recovery times in most cases.

What Is Piriformis Syndrome?

This is a fairly straight forward condition. The piriformis muscle is located in the pelvic region attaching on the anterior aspect of your sacrum (a triangular shaped bone that sits between your two pelvic bones) and the upper part of your leg bone at the hip. This muscle is responsible for helping you twist or rotate your leg outward. Because of the anatomy of this area, your sciatic nerve actually sits just in front of (or below depending on how you visualize this image), it can be pinched by the muscle. This occurs when your muscle is in spasm or there is an otherwise compression of the sciatic nerve at the region of the piriformis.

This is also called an ‘entrapment syndrome’ of the sciatic nerve. Really, the only difference is in causation, where true sciatica is defined as symptoms from a herniated disc in the lower or lumbar spine. As mentioned, this can directly mimic sciatica, with pain, tingling or numbness in the gluteal region, down the leg and into the sole of your foot. Piriformis induced pain is often reported as a dull ache, deeper in the gluteal region that is worse with squatting, walking or sitting.

Piriformis Treatment

Because tightening or spasms of the piriformis muscle are at the root of the problem, stretching is often the best treatment. Massage and chiropractic care can be beneficial as they allow the pelvis and muscles to become more balanced, too.  Many of the same sciatica treatment approaches are similar to that of the piriformis.  If you’re looking for treatment and you think you may have piriformis syndrome, contact us at our Gilbert chiropractic office today.  Best wishes!


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