When the Piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve and sends pain signals to the brain it is known as Piriformis Syndrome. Because the muscle is located near the top of the buttocks, this rare, chronic pain disorder can be hard to diagnose because it is sometimes confused with a number of other sciatica-like symptoms. The physicians at The Spine & Pain Center can run diagnostic tests to rule out other diseases and pinpoint the syndrome directly.
It is the piriformis muscle’s job is to rotate the hips and turn the legs. Sometimes due to an injury, the muscle can spasm and compress the sciatic nerve that extends beneath the muscle. Because it is a rare condition and difficult to diagnose, patients may require a thorough physical examination, complete with diagnostic imaging, in order to see if the muscle is swollen or tightened as a result of the spasms.
Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome include pain caused by muscle compression of the sciatic nerve that radiates from the buttocks down to the back of the legs. Sometimes it can be a dull ache in the lower back and buttocks or may lead to limited mobility. Pain may increase while sitting or walking for long periods of time. For some patients, relief may only be felt while lying down.
Stretching, massage therapy and anti-inflammatory medications are often prescribed to treat piriformis syndrome. The Spine & Pain Center uses a multi-faceted approach to care. Steroid injections may be recommended if more conservative measures are not enough to relieve symptoms.