Piriformis syndrome is a persistent tenderness in the region of the buttock. It is caused when the piriformis muscle located deep within the butt, presses against the sciatic nerve, which stems from the spinal cord in the lower back and runs down both sides of the back, the thighs, legs and feet.
This neuromuscular disorder can occur in both men and women due to a number of factors. These include trauma to the gluteal muscle (a group of three muscle which is encompassed within the buttocks), strain to the piriformis muscle, hunching or slouching often, sedentary lifestyle and extreme athletic activity.
The vital functions of the piriformis muscle are regulating lower body movement by maneuvering hip joints and facilitating flexible motions of the thigh muscles. This, in turn, helps us to walk steadily and maintain an erect posture. It is also very crucial for the vigorous dynamics in several sports, particularly gymnastics and swimming.
Piriformis syndrome, therefore, results in difficulty in walking, engaging in high intensity or strenuous workouts and treks and challenges to athletes in playing competitive sports.
Seeking professional medical care, coupled with following some useful home therapies can efficiently alleviate pain and muscular stress in the region of the hips, buttocks and lower back.
The typical indicators of piriformis syndrome are:
- Pain in the hips and thighs, up until the feet (radiating along the sciatic nerve)
- Sciatic nerve compression such as in sciatica pain
- Discomfort while sitting for prolonged periods
- Sudden aches while sneezing or bending
- Muscle soreness after physical activity
Diagnosis And Treatment:
There are no definitive medical tests for the diagnosis of piriformis syndrome. The doctor conducts a thorough physical exam and then inspects the flexibility of the patient with some basic stretches. A strained piriformis muscle is usually found in these analyses.
In severe cases, scrutiny of the nerves is performed by MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans, to eliminate the possibility of sciatica and herniated discs in the spinal cord.
Once it is confirmed that the patient has piriformis syndrome, the healthcare provider advises them to take up physical therapy sessions to assist in decreasing muscular strain in the hips and butt and sciatic nerve compression.
Furthermore, some efficacious home remedies such as resting in a comfortable position, applying a warm or cold compress and avoiding lunging and strenuous exercise are recommended for the affected individual.
If the pain is very excruciating and affects the patient’s productivity and normal functioning, the medical practitioner prescribes anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants to relieve agony, besides administering injections in the hip area, with steroids.
In rare cases, surgery is performed to detangle the piriformis muscle and enable a pain-free, wider range of motion in the hips and legs.