What is Piriformis Syndrome?
Piriformis Syndrome is a rare neuromuscular disorder caused when the Piriformis muscles compress the Sciatic nerve. The Piriformis is a band-like muscle located near the buttocks adjoining the top of the hip, that stabilizes the hip joint and facilitates in the hip movements. Piriformis Syndrome is one of the underlying causes of Sciatic Pain.
Piriformis Syndrome Symptoms
Piriformis Syndrome symptoms vary from individual to individual depending upon their age, health conditions, etc. Some of the common symptoms across different types and different ages have been listed below for your understanding.
- Pain in buttocks and legs that increases with activity
- Pain that gets worse as you sit for longer time
- Difficulty in sitting
- Tenderness in muscles around buttocks
- Tingling sensation in the buttocks and legs
- Numbness in thighs and legs
Piriformis Syndrome can sometimes get as worse as rendering one unable to carry basic movements.
Who is at Risk?
Piriformis Syndrome risk factors differ from individual to individual as age, health conditions and lifestyle habits have a major role to play. Certain red flags for when an individual might be at risk are:
- Anyone who spends most of their time sitting on chairs and sofa like watching television, working at the office, etc.
- Anyone who practice rigorous lower-back workouts
- Anyone who has had an injury in the lower back
Piriformis Syndrome Causes
The Piriformis muscle works out every day. Every movement, activity, or even shift in weight in the legs involves Piriformis muscle. As such, inappropriate movements, zero-movements, and even too many exercises can sometimes result in Piriformis Syndrome. Here are some of the most common Piriformis Syndrome causes:
- Excessive exercising
- Activities like Running, jogging, skipping, etc that cause strain on the legs
- Sitting on a chair, sofa, etc for extended periods
- Lifting heavy objects that strain the lower-back muscles
- Extensive climbing of stairs or other surfaces
There are certain common injuries and movements too that can cause Piriformis Syndrome, these include:
- Sudden pressure on the Piriformis muscle
- Twist in the hip
- A vehicle accident
- Injury causes while playing sports, exercising, etc.
- Skit on the floor or a bad fall
How is Piriformis Syndrome diagnosed?
Piriformis Syndrome diagnosis is done by the doctor when one experiences pain in the buttocks, or the legs for over a few weeks. The diagnosis includes certain Piriformis Syndrome tests that include:
- Physical examination – The doctor will conduct a physical examination of the patient together with their medical history, health conditions, etc to understand the cause and effect
- CT Scan or MRI – Imaging tests allow the doctor to understand if the Piriformis Syndrome is a result of arthritis or ruptured disk
- Ultrasound – An ultrasound of the muscles helps in diagnosing the Piriformis Syndrome and the associated pain area
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How is Piriformis Syndrome treated?
Piriformis Syndrome treatment is done based on the cause of the pain.
- Movement Restrictions – The Piriformis Syndrome Doctors’ first approach usually is to avoid activities or movements that trigger the pain
- Hot and Cold Therapy – Ice gel packs and hot water bags are used to soothe the lingering pain and calm the nerves
- Medicine for Piriformis Syndrome – Over-the-counter medicines are also advised as pain relief and make one feel better
- Physical Therapy – Certain low-intensity movements are advised by the physiotherapist to stimulate the muscles and ease pain
- Injections – In some cases when the pain gets serious doctors to advise injections of corticosteroids to help with the muscle inflammation
- TENS Treatment – In extreme cases, the TENS Treatment is undertaken where electrical charges are moved underneath the skin to the nerves to stimulate the muscles and treat the pain.
How can Piriformis Syndrome be prevented?
Piriformis Syndrome can be prevented with some lifestyle changes and habits.
- Avoid exercises or activities that cause strain on lower-back or legs
- Warm-up properly before exercises or sports activities to avoid muscle injuries
- Maintain a healthy diet and an active lifestyle to keep muscles active and healthy
- Maintain optimum body weight
- Restrict from activities or movements that trigger pain on any part of the body