Most of you may have heard of sciatica, but the term piriformis-syndrome is still uncommon. It is a neuromuscular disorder arising from the contraction or compression of the piriformis muscle on the sciatica nerve. The piriformis is a flat and band-like muscle. It is present in the buttocks near the apex of the hip joint.
The piriformis muscle is vital for all types of lower-body movements. It stabilizes the hip joint and helps in lifting or rotating the thigh away from your body. In fact, piriformis muscles help you walk, maintain body balance, and shift your weight from one foot to another. If you are an athlete, the muscle has a crucial role in the rotation and lifting of the thighs. Basically, every movement involving the hips and legs is under the control of the piriformis muscle.
The thick sciatica nerve passing alongside the piriformis muscle sometimes also goes through it. And the nerve then goes down along the back of your legs to eventually branch off into smaller nerve endings in the feet. Spasms of the piriformis muscle can cause nerve compression.
It is a neuromuscular disorder arising from the contraction or compression of the piriformis muscle on the sciatica nerve.
Symptoms of piriformis-syndrome:
Sciatica is the chief symptom of piriformis-syndrome. However, there are many associated symptoms of the syndrome. You may feel pain and discomfort in some other part of your body. The medical terminology for such pain is "referred pain."
The other common symptoms include:
Causes of Piriformis Syndrome:
The piriformis muscle is working out most of the time as you walk or turn the lower body. The muscle is active even when you are slightly shifting the body weight from one side to another. But too much exercise can cause injuries to the muscle. A long period of rigorous exercise or complete inactivity can also cause muscle irritation.
The common causes of piriformis-syndrome include:
Sometimes, injuries can damage the piriformis muscle to cause pain by pressing down the sciatica nerve. Typical injuries leading to the piriformis-syndrome include:
It is crucial to see the doctor if you feel numbness or pain in the buttocks continuously for at least a week. The pain will also show up in the legs. Sciatica will linger for several weeks or more, depending on the cause of the condition. Medical consultation is also mandatory when the pain comes and goes frequently.
The doctor's appointment will include a complete review of your medical history, the present symptoms, and then diagnosing the possible causes of the pain. It is important to understand what triggered the symptoms. It would be best if you elaborately discussed the symptoms or a better diagnosis. Don't forget to share the information with your therapist if you had a recent fall or you recall straining a muscle while playing.
If you have to sit at a place for long periods, including desk work, you will be at higher risk for piriformis-syndrome. Performing rigorous and regular lower body workouts can also cause the condition. Athletes are prone to the syndrome, especially when having sports injuries.
Although exercises can sometimes cause piriformis-syndrome, regular exercises can also reduce the risk. It would be physically appropriate if you did the following to prevent injuries causing the condition:
The treatment of the syndrome depends upon the chronicity of the syndrome. It will include:
In serious cases of piriformis-syndrome, you may need injections of the corticosteroids that will provide relief from inflammation to the muscle.
You may also get some relief after undergoing transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation or TENS treatment. The TENS device emits electrical energy to stimulate the nerves and suppress the pain signals to the brain.
The piriformis-syndrome can masquerade various common somatic dysfunctions like>
Practicing wrong postures and exercising will cause further damage and compression to the nerve. Timely treatment is essential to prevent further deterioration. Follow the doctors' suggestions and do the exercises as per the instructions of the trained experts only.