What is the Piriformis?
The Piriformis is a small muscle in the buttock that runs from the sacral region of the spine, under the gluteus maximus but over the sciatic nerve, to the top part of the femur called the greater trochanter. The main role of the Piriformis muscle is to stabilize the pelvis, allow for lateral rotation of the leg, and to stabilize movement, walking or running, by shifting body weight to the leg in contact with the ground.
What is Piriformis Syndrome?
Piriformis Syndrome is an impingement of the sciatic nerve caused by compression from a malfunctioning Piriformis muscle. The Piriformis muscle can be overused and become damaged leading to spasms or freezing the muscle in a contracted position. The Piriformis muscle when behaving this way can compress the sciatic nerve causing the same Sciatica symptoms that a spine disorder would achieve. The symptom of Sciatica caused by the Piriformis muscle is a rare condition called Piriformis Syndrome.
What is the Treatment for Piriformis Syndrome?
Piriformis syndrome is exacerbated by overuse of the piriformis muscle. Rest and NSAIDS are a good place to start to reduce inflammation and muscle irritation. If home measures don’t relieve your sciatica symptoms, then seeing a orthopedic specialists may help. Orthopedic specialists can prescribe steroid treatments as well as offering injections that may help clear your symptoms. You may be given exercises and stretches, or be referred to physical therapy, to be taught techniques to clear up your sciatica issues from Piriformis syndrome. You may be asked to acquire a dense foam roller for rolling out the piriformis muscle at home to help relieve symptoms. In very rare cases if nothing is helping surgical intervention may be considered as some patients have developmental variation that has left them with their sciatic nerve running through the piriformis muscle instead of behind it.