Sciatica as a result of Piriformis Syndrome

Sciatica is described as pain due to compression on the sciatic nerve that causes pain and sometimes tingling and numbness in the lower back into the buttock and down either lower extremity. Sometimes, these symptoms can be caused by compression on the sciatic nerve due to contraction or tightness of the piriformis muscle. Symptoms can often be recreated by running or sitting for prolonged periods of time. The piriformis muscle is an important muscle as it helps stabilize the hip joint and helps rotate your hip externally. The muscle is integral in walking and maintaining balance.

Often, people assume sciatica is caused by compression on the nerve root due to a bulging disc which is not always the case. Diagnosing piriformis syndrome can be done by performing an MRI or have your PT perform special testing, such as the FAIR test with hip movements to recreate the symptoms.

Treatment for piriformis syndrome starts by simply stretching the piriformis muscle as well as strengthening of the hip abductors, adductors, and internal rotators. People suffering from this syndrome can learn simple exercises and progressions to strengthening these muscle groups as well as receive hands on work from one of our skilled providers which would include stretching, soft tissue massage, and muscle release techniques. Acupuncture can be performed as well which would be beneficial when performed w/physical therapy.

Posted in: Low Back

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