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Piriformis Syndrome

Updated: Oct 14, 2020


If you suffer from nerve pain radiating down your leg and buttock pain it can be caused by piriformis syndrome or sciatica. Sciatica: Sciatica symptoms occur when the large sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed in the lumbar spine (lower back). Piriformis Syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle, located in the buttock region, spasms and causes buttock pain. The piriformis muscle can also irritate the nearby sciatic nerve and cause pain, numbness and tingling along the back of the leg and into the foot (similar to sciatic pain). Sounds confusing, but it is a good indicator of whether it is sciatica or piriformis syndrome if you have a tennis ball on your piriformis muscle and massage it, see if it will cause that shooting pain down your leg and that pain in your buttocks.

Sitting in a car seat, running, and climbing stairs are a great way to flare up the little piriformis muscle. The piriformis is located deep to the gluteus maximus and runs from the edge of the sacrum into the femur. To stretch the piriformis lay on your back and cross one leg over the other knee with the top leg flaring out. Grab the bottom leg and pull towards you, this will stretch the top leg. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on other side. It is great to do this stretch 2 times a day.

Self massage: Can use a tennis ball, if it is too painful use a large ball or a foam roller. Similar to being in the stretching position except you are upright. This way you can use your body weight to apply more pressure on the muscle. A good indicator of knowing when you are on the right spot is if it brings the referral and local pain that it has been causing you. Do not stay on the spot if you can feel it radiating down to your feet as this can cause nerve damage.

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