Causes and Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome


The piriformis syndrome is a relatively uncommon neuromuscular disorder that occurs when the piriformis muscle puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. This muscle is band-like in shape and is located at the top of the hip joint, around the buttocks. The sciatic nerve is thick in structure and passes through the piriformis muscle and eventually branches into smaller nerves which run right up to the feet. Compression of this nerve can occur as a result of spasms in the piriformis muscle. The best way to alleviate the pain is by visiting a physiotherapy clinic.

Causes and Symptoms

In most cases, the condition is characterized with a pain or a numbness and tingling sensation in the buttocks. The pain can be extensive and severe and can run along the sciatic nerve, much like sciatica pain. Any posture that causes further compression to the sciatic nerve can aggravate the pain. So, it can be triggered by sitting in the car, while running, climbing stairs, applying pressure on the piriformis muscles, being seated for long duration and so on.

However, it is important to remember that most cases of sciatica pain are not causes by the piriformis syndrome. Irrespective of the cause of sciatic nerve compression however, a physiotherapy clinic is certainly the place to head to for some quick relief. A trained physiotherapist can help in relaxing the nerve and hence reducing the pain.

How is it diagnosed?

Typically, there is no specific diagnosis for piriformis syndrome.  There are no tests. Sometimes, an MRI may be performed for ruling out any allied causes for nerve compression. Doctors perform a physical examination and check the symptoms shared by patients for arriving at a conclusive diagnosis.

Apart from physiotherapy, pain killers might also be advised for acute pains. Steroids may also be prescribed in certain cases.