Piriformis Syndrome is pain experienced in the hip, buttock, hamstring and sciatic regions. It is a fairly uncommon neuromuscular disorder. This syndrome happens when the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve.
The piriformis muscle is a flat, band-like muscle located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint. This muscle is important in lower body movement since it stabilizes the hip joint and lifts and rotates the thigh away from the body. This enables us to walk, shift our weight from one foot to another, and maintain balance. The sciatic nerve is a thick and long nerve in the body. It passes alongside or goes through the piriformis muscle, down the back of the leg, and eventually branches off into smaller nerves that end in the feet.
Piriformis syndrome can cause another condition, called sciatica.
The exact causes for this syndrome are unknown. However, suspected causes include:
Symptoms include a dull pain in the buttocks, pain which may extend down the back of the thighs, calf and foot. Also, hip movements can be painful. The pain may be aggravated after prolonged sitting.
There are no definitive tests for piriformis syndrome. Your doctor may ask if there is a history of trauma to the area, or if you engage in repetitive, vigorous activity such as long-distance running, or prolonged sitting. Diagnosis of piriformis syndrome is done by a physical examination using a variety of movements to elicit pain in the piriformis muscle. Typically, any motion of the hip will recreate the pain. The exam will also identify or rule out other possible causes of the sciatica pain, such as testing for local tenderness and muscle strength. Because symptoms can be similar in other conditions, radiologic tests such as MRIs may be required to rule out other causes of sciatic nerve compression, such as a herniated disc.
Piriformis Syndrome is usually treated through physiotherapy.
This is one condition that can be prevented by taking certain measures. Doctors suggest warming up thoroughly before starting any physical exercise help you keep your body healthy and away from any shortcomings, and to gradually increase the intensity. Also, having a good posture while running and exercising helps in preventing this syndrome. To know more on treating Piriformis Syndrome, contact your nearest Physiotherapist.