Happens quite often but is missed as a diagnosis.  So, goes under reported and mistreated.  When the powerful piriformis muscle (located in each buttock) goes into chronic spasm. The piriformis is the big, band-like muscle that stabilizes your hip and rotates your thigh. You can’t walk, lift, or balance without it.

This piriformis spasm can compress the large sciatic nerve that runs through the muscle and on down the leg. Pain can develop in the buttocks, low back, or legs. This is called piriformis syndrome, and it can be very painful.

Piriformis syndrome is often caused by sitting at a desk for long periods of time. Sometimes muscle overuse is the problem. Sometimes it’s underuse. Or injury may be where it starts. Whatever the cause, the piriformis muscle gets irritated. Issues with the sacroiliac joint (SI joint) such as instability may be related to piriformis syndrome.

The Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome often starts as tingling or numbness in the buttock. Patients may notice it while sitting in the car or when jogging. Pain ensues, and it can grow quite severe over time. Low back pain is a common symptom, and seemingly unrelated issues can develop, such as pain during intercourse. Because the sciatic nerve is so long, the pain can also radiate far down the leg.

Functional Chiropractic Care

Your chiropractor needs to make sure your pain isn’t being caused by something other than the piriformis muscle, such as a compressed lumbar disc. Correct diagnosis is critical.

Using an integrated, functional approach, your chiropractor may work on diverse areas of the body, including the spine, legs, and even the feet. Since the body is connected as a whole, dysfunction in other areas of the body can contribute to spasms in specific muscles.

Beyond treatment, chiropractic care is all about rehabilitation – improving flexibility and restoring muscle strength. Isotonic resistance exercises are appropriate for this, tailored carefully for each patient. These include lunges and careful step-climbing techniques.

Basic mechanical alignment may be necessary for some patients, with orthotics or heel-lifts.

Pain killers are sometimes prescribed by medical doctors and can be helpful.  But most People who develop piriformis syndrome will require  ergonomic modification and a individualized rehab program to help them recover fully.

The Best Treatment is Prevention

People who sit for hours, like pilots or computer programmers, are at risk of piriformis syndrome.  So are runners, rowers, and long-distance cyclists, whose movement is all forward-and-backward, which doesn’t condition hip adductors or abductors and may let glutes weaken over time. a varied and active physical life, appropriate to age and health, is vital to staving off piriformis syndrome.

Structural problems should be addressed too. Are you a runner, whose foot tends to turn inward too much? That “overpronating” is another typical danger spot.

What to Remember About Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is painful, but it can be managed. You need a healthy, active life to stay out of it. If it hits you anyway, holistic chiropractor care can to assess what went wrong, help you recover safely, and keep it all from coming back.

Dr. Desjardins has been educating and helping people recover and prevent injuries for more than 23 years. Addressing back pain, shoulder pain, foot pain, scar tissue, headaches, or poor performance, Power Health Chinook offers Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Massage services. Learn more about our team here.