Do you have pain in the buttock region that is accompanied by numbness and tingling along the back of the leg and into the foot? Well, you could possibly have Piriformis Syndrome, which is a condition in which the piriformis muscle spasms and causes pain in the buttock region. The piriformis spasms can also irritate the nearby sciatic nerve, causing symptoms similar to Sciatica.
So what is the function of the piriformis muscle and where is it located? The piriformis muscle is a small muscle located behind the gluteus maximus deep in the buttock. It’s a diagonally positioned muscle, and can interfere with the vertically positioned sciatic nerve running directly below it. A small portion of the population has the sciatic nerve piercing through the piriformis muscle, which can cause many complications relating to the nerve. The function of the piriformis muscle is to assist in rotating the hip and outwardly turning both the leg and foot. Many times these movements will be limited or diminished with Piriformis Syndrome.
The exact cause of Piriformis Syndrome remains a mystery, but there are several suspected causes. Muscle spasm in the piriformis muscle may be caused by the irritation of a nearby structure like the Sacroiliac joint (Si) or the muscle itself. Tightening and swelling of the muscle may also be attributed to an injury or spasm. Another cause may be related to inflammation or bleeding in the area of the piriformis muscle.
Most commonly, patients complain of acute tenderness in the buttock and sciatic like pain down the back of the leg, into the calf and foot. Pain is often associated with activities such as walking up stairs or inclines, running and prolonged sitting. Reduced range of motion of the the hip joint is often associated with Piriformis Syndrome. A reduction in pain may be noticed after lying down on the back, especially with the knees bent on the chest.
Piriformis treatments typically involve a combination of stretches, ice and heat therapy and Chiropractic treatments. See your provider today if you have any of the symptoms above. Chiropractors deal with the sacroiliac joint by trade and are expects in diagnosing and adjusting the spine and other joints, affecting the surrounding muscles and symptoms.