Piriformis is a muscle in your buttocks with an unusual shape like a pear. It extends from the bottom of your spine to the top of your thigh. The sciatic nerve is the biggest single nerve in the human body. It serves a vital role in connecting the spinal cord with the leg and foot muscles. A spasm is an involuntary muscle contraction. A spasm of the piriformis can cause some buttock pain. When this muscle tightens, it can compress against the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve passes on the piriformis muscle. A tightening of this muscle compresses against the sciatic nerve. This will cause shooting pain, tingling or numbness anywhere from the hip to the lower leg or foot. Tense and tightness of this muscle can induce the muscle to involuntary spasm. This is especially for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
The initial symptoms are pain, tingling or numbness in the buttock area. Pain can be mild to severe, and this pain extends from the buttock down to the length of the sciatic nerve. This pain is a result of the piriformis muscle compressing against the sciatic nerve. Many activities will involve pressure contact between the nerve and the muscle. Simple movements like driving, climbing or even sitting for hours are culprits. They can cause some muscle pressure on your sciatic nerve.
The most common symptom of the syndrome is a dull pain in the buttock area. Such pain may radiate from the buttocks through the whole length of the sciatic nerve. Some may even experience pain in the lower back. Some pressure applied to the buttock area may result in some pain. Other patients can develop a palpable sausage-shaped mass in their buttock. This is because of the muscle contractions of the piriformis muscle. Another noticeable sign of the disease is the reduced range of motion of the hip joint.
With Piriformis syndrome, the pain isn't limited to the buttock area. This pain can radiate to different parts of the lower body, from the back of the leg into the hamstring muscles. It can even affect the calf muscles. Don't confuse the pain in the hamstring with a hamstring strain or tendinopathy.
Pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause debilitating pain. In some women, the problem can even cause pain during sexual intercourse. And in both sexes, even bowel movements can be a painful ordeal. These symptoms often prompt the patient to visit a gynecologist or gastroenterologist. These doctors usually can find no explanation for the problem. The pain becomes more challenging each day. At its worse, the pain can affect your entire lower body. This makes everyday activities like harder to accomplish. These activities include prolonged sitting, walking on inclines or stairs. Lying down can offer temporary relief.
Some activities are ideal for strengthening the piriformis muscles. Such exercises may offer relief. They reduce the severity of muscle spasms and relief from muscle tightness. You need to perform these exercises every day. Strengthening the piriformis muscle is the main objective. After the exercises, stretching exercises should immediately follow. The second set will tend to relax muscles you worked and warmed up. If possible, perform these exercises three times a day. This is especially beneficial for persons who work sedentary jobs. Keep in mind that these exercises can prevent the Piriformis syndrome from recurring.
Some people find relief from the syndrome's pain by applying compresses. Using these packs can enhance the flow of blood to the affected areas and can speed up healing. What works best to relieve pain efficiently will be a matter of choice. You can use hot packs, cold packs or alternating packs. Cold packs are best to reduce muscle spasms caused by injuries. Heat therapy is best for more chronic or long-term conditions. It will better relax the muscles. For acute injuries, inflammations or recent tearing of muscles, never apply heat therapy. This will further aggravate swelling, redness, and bleeding.
Exercise is a vital element in preventing the occurrence of Piriformis syndrome. Even simple walking can ease muscles from tension felt in the body. It can put off spasms from worsening. Find the best exercises to strengthen your piriformis as well as your buttock and hip muscles. Treat the syndrome by becoming more active. If by any chance symptoms get worse after exercising, you must rest from such activities. Usually, these culprit activities are running and weight-bearing exercises.
Some patients find massaging helpful in relieving tense muscles. Targeting one particular painful area can lead to massaging a wider area. This is because tension in one area can cause tension in another. This means that massaging the hips and buttocks may prove helpful. Massaging with heat or cold packs can also help. To release tensions in the piriformis muscles, you can also use deep sports massages. Do this technique on alternating days to start the rehabilitation. If the patient's condition improves, you can deepen the massage. The deeper the massage, the longer the muscles should rest between sessions. This will give the muscles time to recover from the next session.
There are also clinical treatments for the Piriformis Syndrome. Patients they will undergo two phases. The first phase is to reduce the pain by relaxing the muscle. Do this through ice or heat, electrotherapy, massage, and stretching. The second phase involves strengthening the muscles to stop the injury from recurring. There are different ways of dealing with the effects of the syndrome. A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and inflammation. A professional therapist may recommend sports massages or electrotherapy to relax tense muscles. Light massages can prove helpful in releasing muscle spasms in the piriformis. Some doctors, for more serious cases, may suggest Botox injections. Occasionally, a doctor may require surgery.
Chiropractic manipulation, trigger point therapy, and acupuncture are alternative treatments for Piriformis Syndrome. Physical therapy is another treatment. It can help you regain the use of your piriformis muscle instead of it wasting away. When everything else fails, surgery is the final option. One kind will involve cutting the piriformis tendon at the point where it is attached to the hip. The second kind is to cut into the piriformis muscle to reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.