How to identify and treat Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a rare condition where the person has the sciatic nerve passing through the fibers of the piriformis muscle that is located in the buttock. In these people the sciatic nerve is inflamed due to the fact that the nerve is constantly pressed due to its anatomical location.

When the person with the piriformis syndrome has an inflamed sciatic nerve, intense pain in the right leg is common, because this is usually the side most affected, in addition to pain in the buttock.

Signs and symptoms

The best way to find out if a person has piriformis syndrome is to have an exam like MRI, tomography or ultrasound, for example. However, the characteristics of sciatica in people who have this syndrome are more characterized by:

  • Pain in the form of a stab, stab, burning or tingling sensation in the buttocks or behind the thigh;
  • There may be pain in the side of the leg and the top of the foot;
  • The pain worsens when sitting and crossing the leg;
  • The first crisis may arise in pregnancy, due to the increase in weight and size of the belly;
  • It is common for people to hobble during a sciatica crisis;
  • Symptoms such as leg weakness, and numbness in the buttock or leg may be present.

Watch the video to learn how to recognize and cure sciatica:

In some people, the test indicated at the beginning of this video can be negative, but if the person lies on their stomach, bend their knees and spread their feet to the side, the pain may appear, indicating that the person is very likely to have piriformis syndrome.

Some situations that can favor sciatica in these people include the increase in the piriformis muscle due to the practice of gluteal exercises, gluteal contracture, sitting fall or traffic accident, for example, which leads to a blow to the buttocks area generating a hematoma and that compresses the sciatic nerve. Learn about other causes of gluteal pain.

How the treatment is done

It is not possible to change the path of the sciatic nerve because the surgery generates large scars on the gluteus and causes adhesions that can cause the symptoms to remain. In this case, whenever the person has sciatica pain treatment should be done in order to lengthen and decrease the tension of the piriformis muscle.

Physiotherapy sessions are a great treatment option to reduce pain and discomfort, and are generally very effective. So, for treatment it can be useful:

  • Do a deep massage: Sit on a chair placing a tennis ball or ping-pong ball on your aching buttock and use your body weight to move the ball sideways and also back and forth;
  • Do exercises like the stretching that I show in the video indicated above, at 1:35 minutes, two to three times a day, every day;
  • The myofascial release technique, which can include deep massage, can cause pain and discomfort, but it also brings great relief of symptoms in the following days;
  • Place a bag of warm water at the site of the pain;
  • The orthopedist may recommend taking medications such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen.

If there is no relief of symptoms with these treatments and if the pain is severe, the doctor may also recommend an injection of anesthetic and corticosteroids. Check out some remedies for sciatic nerve pain.