Piriformis Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Piriformis Syndrome refers to a neuromuscular disorder that affects the Piriformis muscle located in the buttock. This muscle begins at the lower spine and connects it to the femur (thigh bone) with the sciatic nerve running beneath it. The Piriformis muscle enables the rotation of the hip and forward leg movement. The syndrome is a result of stress or irritation caused to the muscle which, in turn, compresses the underlying sciatic nerve. It may lead to pain, spasm or numbness in the buttock radiating downwards to the thigh, lower leg and calf muscles. It is a complex medical condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated at the earliest as it may lead to a host of other pathological problems.

Symptoms

  • Mild to severe pain in the buttock, leg or thigh
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Discomfort while moving the hip joint
  • Tenderness in the buttock muscle
  • Pain tends to increase while walking up an incline, climbing stairs or sitting for a long duration
  • Discomfort while sitting on the affected buttock
  • Pain or discomfort during bowel movement
  • Pain generally diminishes once the patient lies on his/her back
  • Numbness in feet or difficulty in walking
  • Women may experience Dyspareunia
  • Some patients may experience pain in neck or head

Causes

  • Sitting for long hours may tighten the Piriformis muscle
  • Sportspersons who indulge in running, rowing or cycling tend to bend forward most of the time leading to weakening of buttock muscles
  • Overuse of the hip joint or muscle that leads to stress or spasms
  • Trauma to the gluteal region or the buttock

Diagnosis

Piriformis Syndrome is a complex condition that requires various tests and methods of examination for accurate diagnosis. These may include:

  • Review of the patient’s medical history to rule out other causes of pain
  • Physical examination of the leg and hip by the doctor
  • X-ray, MRI, CT scan and few other nerve conduction tests
  • Reflex, strength and sensory testing of the deep tendon
  • Assessment of disparities in length of legs
  • Tenderness in the gluteal region

Treatment

  • The orthopedic doctor may recommend heat therapy to reduce stress and encourage flow of blood to the affected muscles
  • Specific stretching exercises may also help to strengthen the Piriformis muscle, hamstrings, hip flexors and abductor muscles
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants may be prescribed
  • The doctor my ask to avoid activities that lead to stress or pain
  • Rest for a prescribed period of two to three weeks
  • Surgical intervention may be required in cases where conservative therapies fail to provide relief.

OrthoTexas provides comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for Piriformis Syndrome. To schedule an appointment with our orthopedic surgeons in Carrollton, TX, you can call at (972) 492 – 1334.

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