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Learn Everything about Piriformis Syndrome - Spine Center of Texas
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Learn Everything about Piriformis Syndrome

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Piriformis Syndrome is a disorder caused by a spasm of the piriformis muscle. The piriformis muscle is a component of the buttocks, located behind the gluteus maximus and, when irritated, it will cause pain in that region. The piriformis muscle can also produce sciatic nerve interference, which results in pain down the leg and into the foot.

The exact reasons for Piriformis Syndrome are and undetermined but may include:

  • Piriformis muscle spasm due to irritation of the muscle tissue, hip, or sacroiliac joint
  • Significant muscle tightness due to injury or the spasm itself
  • Bleeding or swelling within the piriformis muscle

The symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome most often experienced are:

  • Tenderness in the buttocks region accompanied by a dull ache
  • Decreased range of motion hip
  • Discomfort down the back of the leg to the foot
  • Pain with long periods of sitting, walking on inclines, and walking up stairs

An individual’s symptoms tend to increase with long periods of sitting, walking, or running and are often relieved by lying down on their back.

A physician diagnoses piriformis syndrome by conducting a physical examination involving testing for range of motion, strength, and sensitivity in the hips and legs. In most cases, certain hip movements will reproduce the pain. A thorough medical history review will help to eliminate the possibility of other conditions causing the discomfort such as a genetic issue. Diagnostic tests like x-rays are inconclusive in determining the presence of piriformis syndrome and are used primarily to detect the existence of other ailments with similar characteristics.

Piriformis syndrome normally responds well to conservative treatment. Stretching is essential for both the piriformis and hamstring muscles, providing pain relief and improved range of motion. Cold and heat therapy may also help to decrease discomfort. Physical therapy is often recommended, consisting of gentle range of motion exercises along with massage to stimulate increased blood flow to the affected area. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication will help reduce inflammation; individuals experiencing extreme pain may benefit from a corticosteroid injection.

If you are experiencing buttock pain and would like to learn about our treatment options, please contact our San Antonio, Seguin or New Braunfels offices.