Chronic pain can throw your entire life intoPirformis Syndrome Pelvis and Leg Pain upheaval: Injuries incur hardship and cost money and time. Furthermore, pain cuts into your normal routine and lifestyle, often making activities, work and family time difficult and uncomfortable. Sometimes you can injure or pull a muscle, such as the piriformis muscle, which is located near your buttocks, that later impacts your mobility and causing chronic discomfort.

What Is Piriformis Syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which spasms occur in the piriformis muscle, creating pain in your buttocks. This muscle’s close proximity to the sciatic nerve also can contribute to the issue, causing nerve pain, tingling, and numbness in your foot and along the back of your leg. Piriformis targets the hip and pelvis area, which is what contributes to chronic pain and limited range of motion.

What Causes Piriformis Syndrome?

The causes of piriformis syndrome are unknown, though spasms in this area of the body and injury to the nearby joints and hip can contribute to the problem. Swelling can occur in the piriformis muscles, causing further irritation and tightening, which could exacerbate your symptoms and pain level.

Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome

The symptoms of piriformis syndrome are hard to ignore. You may experience a dull pain in the buttock and increased discomfort when you climb stairs or walk up hills. Another common complaint of sufferers is discomfort when sitting or after extended periods of sitting. The symptoms also include decreased range of motion in your hip, which can impact overall mobility and movement, particularly for active individuals. Walking, jogging and running may worsen symptoms, and comfort might be found lying flat on your back.

The best way to determine if the pain you are experiencing is Piriformis Syndrome is to have an examination by a hip and pelvis specialist. They will be able to diagnose the condition before symptoms exacerbate.

Risk Factors of Piriformis Syndrome

The risk factors of piriformis syndrome are straight forward and can be common based on your lifestyle.

  • Childbirth
  • Deviated Coccyx
  • Pelvic Hypertonia
  • Trauma
  • Working Lifestyle

Relieve Symptoms and Treat Piriformis Syndrome

Treatment options vary depending on the severity of piriformis syndrome symptoms and can be noninvasive to quite aggressive. Catching this condition early and beginning treatment is key to preventing complex pelvic issues later on. Stretching exercises have shown efficacy in the piriformis muscle, also impacting the hips and hamstrings favorably. Physical therapy may be a useful recovery tool that educates the patient on how to properly do stretching exercises to bring comfort and promote healing.

Some practitioners may choose pharmacological interventions to help in the healing and recovery of the piriformis muscle. Anti-inflammatory medications can alleviate the swelling that co-occurs with this condition and could provide some pain relief. Some have found relief with deep-tissue massage therapy.

For more severe cases, steroidal and anesthetic injections may be a practical approach. The goal of treating with injections is to relieve pain long enough for the patient to participate in physical therapy, which will have more long-lasting repercussions. Botox is another injectable option that has been found effective at relieving pressure from the sciatic nerve, which may reduce overall pain in patients with piriformis syndrome.

Don’t live with the pain of piriformis syndrome one more day; look into Pelvic Rehabilitation Medicine to relieve your painful symptoms and regain your mobility. The longer you delay assessment and treatment, the more at risk you become for pelvic complications that could require more invasive procedures to alleviate, such as surgery or injections. Get help today and regain your range of motion pain-free with the help of professionals who have experience in this and other chronic pain conditions.

Relevant Publications/Citations

Shrikhande A, Ahmed T, Shrikhande G, Hill C. A Novel, Non-Opiod Based Treatment Approach to Men with Urologic Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (UCPPS) Using Ultrasound Guided Nerve Hydrodissection and Pelvic Floor Musculature Trigger Point Injections. The International Continence Society. 2018 Aug. Link to Article.

Allyson Augusta Shrikhande, MD. Interviewee on Pelvic Health Summit – CPPS. Pelvic Health Summit. 2018 May. Link to Interview.

Allyson Shrikhande, MD sits as the chair of the Medical Education Committee for the International Pelvic Pain Society. Link to Medical Committee.