What is Piriformis Syndrome?

Although Piriformis Syndrome is not common, it can cause debilitating pain and decreased mobility in those who suffer from it.

Why does my Butt and Leg Hurt After Running?

Many times chronic buttock and leg pain, especially in athletes, can be a result of Piriformis Syndrome. This occurs when the Piriformis muscle is compressing the sciatic nerve. Many times Piriformis Syndrome happens in runners and can cause a great deal of pain and anguish if left untreated.

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What Causes Piriformis Syndrome?

piriformis syndromePiriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder that is caused when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed by the Piriformis muscle in the buttocks.

The muscle is flat and is located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint. Lower body movement and stabilization is dependent upon the Piriformis muscle working well. It helps us to walk, shift our weight, and maintain balance. The Piriformis muscle is very important in sports and it is essential in lifting and rotating the thighs. In short, it is involved in almost every movement of the hips and legs.

The sciatic nerve is a long, thick nerve that is in the lower body. It runs alongside or through the Piriformis muscle and down the back of the leg eventually branching into smaller nerves that feed the legs and end in the feet. When the sciatic nerve is compressed or pressed on too hard, it can cause spasm in the Piriformis muscle resulting in pain and difficulty moving the hips and legs.

What are the Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome?

Pain and numbness tend to be the most common symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome, mostly in the buttocks region with radiating pain down the leg. More specific symptoms are listed below. Many times the symptoms start in the buttocks and then extend down the leg. Sciatica, as it is known, occurs when pain and tingling or numbness travels down the length of the sciatic nerve down the leg. Sciatica occurs with other problems beside Piriformis Syndrome as well. The pain can be severe and can be aggravated by movement or sitting too long. For example, if you sat in the car too long the pain may be worse. Climbing stairs can be particularly painful due to the movement of the Piriformis muscle.

Most common symptoms from Piriformis Syndrome:

  • Pain in buttocks
  • Tingling in Buttocks
  • Numbness in Buttocks
  • Leg Pain
  • Pain triggers by sitting
  • Pain triggered by climbing stairs

How is Piriformis Syndrome Diagnosed?

The best way to determine if the pain in the buttocks and leg is actually due to Piriformis Syndrome is to use imaging, such as MRI, along with a comprehensive physical exam and case history. Because symptoms often are similar to other, related conditions, radiologic tests such as MRIs may be required to rule out other causes of sciatic nerve compression, such as a herniated disc.

Dr. Cosmas Leigh is skilled in interpreting MRI’s, performing physical exams using a variety of movements to ascertain the involvement of the Piriformis muscle and evaluating patient case history to determine if Piriformis Syndrome is at the root of a patient’s pain.

How is Piriformis Syndrome Treated?

One of the best ways to treat Piriformis Syndrome is to align the spine through Chiropractic manipulation so that the Piriformis muscle is positioned properly to allow the sciatic nerve to flow freely with less or no compression. Additional therapies can be provided to relax the muscle so that it is not contracted as much and as often, also relieving the buttock and leg of pain and numbness. Rest, ice, and heat can also be used to relieve pain and increase healing when used specifically for your needs. Specialized topical analgesics can also take away the pain and provide some relief. Dr. Cosmas Leigh is skilled in providing pain relief through all of these therapeutic interventions.

What Can I Do to Help My Piriformis Syndrome Symptoms?

Piriformis Syndrome is usually caused by sports or repetitive motions that stress the Piriformis muscle, so the quickest and easiest way to get pain relief and begin to help the muscle and nerve heal is to stop performing the activity that is causing problem. Easier said than done though. This is usually very difficult for a person to do because they don’t want to limit their favorite activity like running or playing their favorite sport. Sometimes it is a work related injury that is difficult to limit as well.

Prevention is key to help recovery from a Piriformis muscle injury. Warm up well if you are going to engage in your activity of choice. Run or play on an even surface to help the Piriformis muscle engage in a proper way to avoid further injury. Be sure to start slow and then increase intensity as the muscle is becoming warmer. Use good posture while running or playing the sport to encourage proper nerve flow of the sciatic nerve. Do not overdo it. If pain begins, stop the activity and do not resume until the pain subsides.

How do I get Rid of Pain from Piriformis Syndrome?

If the pain does not subside then it is time to see a doctor who knows how to treat Piriformis Syndrome. Dr. Cosmas Leigh has all the tools to treat Piriformis Syndrome successfully and has been treating patients for almost 25 years. If you want to end the pain from Piriformis Syndrome then call (919) 401-9933 to find the solution.

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