Piriformis Syndrome Overview
Piriformis syndrome is a health condition caused by the piriformis muscle compressing the sciatic nerve, leading to buttocks pain, tingling and numbness. The piriformis muscle is located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint and is responsible for stabilizing the hip and lifting and rotating the thigh away from the body. Pain Recovery Center of Tyler’s pain physicians are highly trained and experienced at treating a number of health conditions in Tyler, Texas patients, including piriformis syndrome.
What to know about Piriformis Syndrome
The piriformis muscle is a flat, band-like muscle located in the buttocks. The muscle enables the body to maintain balance, walk and shift weight from one foot to the other. The sciatic nerve passes alongside or goes under the piriformis muscle, travels the length of the leg and branches off into smaller nerves in the foot.
The sciatic nerve can become compressed if spasms of the piriformis muscle occur, typically from repetitive overuse or sports activities. This leads to the fairly uncommon condition of piriformis syndrome.
Piriformis Syndrome Symptoms
Piriformis syndrome symptoms include buttocks pain, numbness and tingling. In certain patients, the pain can become severe and radiate down the leg, the length of the sciatic nerve (known as sciatica). Pain caused by the piriformis muscle compressing the sciatic nerve can be triggered by sitting for an extended period of time, running or climbing stairs.
Piriformis Syndrome Treatment
A pain physician must begin with a diagnosis in order to determine the proper pain management treatment. There is not a diagnostic test providing a concrete diagnosis of piriformis syndrome at this time. The diagnosis is typically reached by discussing the patient’s symptoms and a thorough physical examination. MRIs are commonly used to rule out other conditions such as a herniated or bulging disc.
Treatment initially begins with conservative measures such as rest, ice, heat and avoiding positions that trigger pain. Other common pain management treatments include physical therapy, medications and injections. Surgery is rarely needed and is only recommended if conservative measures fail and/or in severe cases.
Piriformis syndrome is commonly caused by overuse of the piriformis muscle during sports activities. Pain physicians recommend proper form when patients are running, climbing stairs or engaging in other activities that involve the piriformis muscle and surrounding soft structures. Patients are also encouraged to stretch, warm up and keep good posture during exercising to help prevent the condition.
For more resources on piriformis syndrome, or to learn more about the causes of buttocks pain, please contact the Tyler, Texas pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler.