Piriformis syndrome can be described as a rare condition of the neuromuscular system. It develops when the piriformis muscles in the buttocks contract or expands due to inflammation or irritation. The muscle is then able to push onto the nerve of the sciatica. The symptoms include buttock pain that radiates across the legs. It is also possible to experience an numbness or tingling sensation around the region.
Other names for the piriformis syndrome are deep gluteal syndrome as well as hip socket neuropathy pseudosciatica, as well as wallet sciatica.
This article provides a comprehensive explanation of piriformis disorder and its signs the causes, as well as treatment. It also provides exercises for piriformis and suggestions to ease pain quickly.
How do you define the piriformis muscular?
The piriformis muscles is a small muscle found in the buttocks. It extends through the sacrum of the spine and extends to at the top of the thighbone.
The gluteus maximus, the biggest muscle in the buttocks -covers the piriformis.
The sciatic nerve lies beneath the piriformis. Sciatic nerves are the biggest nerve in the body, extending from the lower spine all the way to the heel of the foot.
The primary purpose of the piriformis muscles serves to turn the thighbone by rotating it externally. When it contracts, it pulls back the upper part of the thighbone back. This allows the hip to open.
How piriformis syndrome develops
Piriformis syndrome is a condition that occurs when muscle expands or is tightened. The resulting compression or entrapment of the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatica as well as other symptoms.
A lot of people consider sciatica as a diagnostic. It is actually an expression used to describe the symptoms of sciatic nerve discomfort. Doctors determine the root reason for sciatica. In this instance it is piriformis syndrome that is the reason for sciatica.
Piriformis is caused by injury or irritation caused by overuse of the muscles. Particular reasons and risk factors are:
- anatomical abnormalities in the muscle itself , or the sciatic nerve
- trauma or injury to the buttocks or hips
- excessive development of muscles that can be seen in certain athletes.
- long-term sitting
- repetitive movements, like cycling or climbing steps running, walking, or biking
Due to the uniqueness of each individual’s anatomy, certain people could have a higher chance to suffer from the piriformis syndrome. The population of athletes and other groups with higher risk of developing the condition should take steps to in preventing piriformis symptoms. The steps comprise:
- Avoid sitting for too long, take regular breaks to stand, stretch and take a walk
- cross-training , allowing you to choose the muscle groups you train
- lifting large objects by bent knees, not your hips
- Remaining in good posture is a must, particularly when sitting
- stretching prior to exercising
Your physical therapist, doctor or athletic trainer will provide you with specific suggestions.
Signs and symptoms of the piriformis syndrome
The primary symptoms of piriformis syndrome are sciatica. It is a feeling of nerve pain burning, numbness, pins and needles or tingling that flows through the buttocks and down the legs. It may feel like electricalpain, shooting. There may be an ache or tenderness around the area.
Sciatica pain is typically deeply in your buttocks due the position that the nerve is located. It can be worsened with certain things like:
- Bending the knee completely
- turning the hip outwards (to from the other side)
People with piriformis tend to suffer from chronic hip pain that increases when they move their hips. They might find it difficult to sit for prolonged periods of time , or lay in positions that place pressure on their buttocks.
Diagnosing piriformis syndrome
To determine if you have piriformis syndrome your doctor will conduct an medical history, conduct an examination, and may conduct a test. During the examination there are various techniques that your doctor can apply to replicate the symptoms. These tests may include:
- Beatty it requires lying on your back and lifting your knee just a few inches off the table
- Adduction, flexion (working on the inner part of the thigh) and internal rotation
- Frieberg is an internal rotation, with the thigh stretched
- Pace, also known as abduction (working the outside of the Thigh) in addition to external rotation
In certain instances doctors may recommend tests for imaging to rule out any other issues. It could include an X-ray, ultrasound CT scan MRI Electromyography, and so on.
Doctors may be able to ask questions. These may include:
- What symptoms do you experience?
- What are the areas where you feel sensation of pain or other signs?
- What would you say about the pain you feel, for example, burning or aching, or stabbing?
- Are the pains constant or does it just come and disappear?
- What appears to make the pain worse or better?
- Do you work for a company that requires long time sitting?
- Do you exercise regularly? What are your favorite activities?
Piriformis syndrome exercises
There are a variety of stretching exercises to strengthen the buttocks and hips. Two of the most effective to heal and prevent the piriformis condition are external hip turns and seated flexion stretches.
External hip rotation
Internal hip rotation refers to called hip adduction that stretches the piriformis. External hip rotations are:
- Lay on your back on a table, or a firm couch or bed.
- Utilize your arm’s outside to help you center and stabilize your body.
- Make use of a pillow or arm to support your head.
- Move your lower leg forward while keeping your upper leg straight to provide stability.
- Then lift your foot to the highest you can be comfortable.
- Then lower your foot to the floor flooring you’re lying on.
- Repeat eight times, and then increase the number of repetitions until you are able to do 12 repetitions.
Seated stretch of rotation
To stretch your seated position:
- You should lie on the floor with your legs aligned in front of you.
- Turn your right knee to cross it on the left side.
- Put your right foot to the side of your knee, calf or as high as you are able to reach it.
- Slowly turn your body toward the bent knee.
- Hold your right hand to your back to assistance.
- Put your left arm to the outside of the bent thigh. Use it to leverage your body as you turn further.
- Check the right shoulder, and stretch it for 30 minutes.
- Return slowly to your starting point.
- Repeat the sequence with the left leg, and go through the process four times for each side.
Consult your physician or physical therapist an athletic trainer to learn advanced options.
Want more exercises? Take a look at eight sciatica stretching exercises here.
Rapid relief from the piriformis syndrome
There are a variety of tips for dealing with piriformis at home, which include:
- Applying cold packs on the area for 15 minutes often throughout the day for a few days
- using heat or alternately heating and cold, after 72 hours of therapy with cold
- Massaging the region
- sleep in positions that don’t place tension on the buttocks
- Stretching the piriformis muscle
- having breaks to stretch, stand and walk when you have to be sitting for long periods of time
- by using painkillers that are available over the counter, like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol) in the event that you are unable to make use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines.
Learn how to sleep with sciatica here.
When is the best time to consult a physician for the piriformis syndrome
It’s time to visit your doctor if sciatica symptoms or other symptoms don’t respond to self-care in some weeks. Your physician may recommend physical therapy. This may involve stretching the piriformis muscles, range-of-motion exercises, as well as the deep-tissue massage. In certain cases, doctors may suggest the use of muscle relaxants, steroids or botulinum injections. Surgery to ease compression of sciatic nerve could be needed in certain instances.
Also, you should visit your physician for any of these conditions:
Find out more about when you should visit a doctor about sciatica.
The outlook for Piriformis syndrome
In the majority of cases it is resolved by the help of a physician and self-care. But, it could happen once more due to certain activities that trigger it. Recognizing triggers is an essential aspect of living with the piriformis disorder. After that, you should make sure you are taking precautions, like stretching and altering the routine of your workout.
If left untreated, piriformis syndrome could cause permanent nerve injury.
Piriformis syndrome is a rare source of pain in the sciatic nerve. It happens when the piriformis muscle located in the buttocks compresses sciatic nerve.
Certain activities can increase the risk of developing piriformis syndrome. Also, some people are at risk of being affected by it. The majority of cases are treated with stretching the muscles and other self-care techniques. Doctors might suggest physical therapy or injecting steroids.
Doctor Osvaldo Pepa, Neurosurgery Service Physician at Hospital San Martin, La Plata, Argentina. I graduated last November 16, 1984 with a Medical Degree at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata. The Medical Board of La Plata, District 1, licensed me as a Neurosurgeon in 1990. I hold a Provincial and National License and an active member of the Neurosurgery Society of La Plata, World Ozone Therapy Federation, and Inter American Society of Minimally Invasive Surgery.