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What you can do about Piriformis Syndrome – Chiropractic


Eliminate Your Stubborn Piriformis Syndrome Once and For All!

Piriformis syndrome is often a literal pain in the butt. It is a syndrome of symptoms ranging from pain to numbness and tingling. It often is a pain localized to the middle aspect of the buttock. But, this pain is known to travel and spread, potentially affecting the back side of your leg all the way down to the foot. The symptoms are typically the result of tightness and spasm of the piriformis muscle which transverses the gluteal region, connecting the lower aspect of the spine to the femur (the upper leg bone). In most people, the sciatic nerve, which is the largest peripheral nerve in the body, courses underneath the piriformis muscle. However, some individuals have their sciatic nerve running directly through this muscle, increasing their susceptibility to problems here.

There are many techniques that can help you relieve symptoms without the use of medications or surgeries.

First, to fully comprehend piriformis syndrome, one must consider the anatomy and function of the spine and lower extremity. Tightness or spasm to the piriformis muscle is relatively common. The piriformis muscle rotates the leg outwards at the hip, which means it is an external rotator of the hip. Daily stressors such as prolonged sitting can cause this to tighten up significantly. For some people, exercise can be the only trigger. Regardless of the cause, individuals who struggle with piriformis syndrome tend to have some natural predispositions.

Predisposing Factors:

Female: The female pelvis flares outward to a greater degree than the male pelvis, thus predisposing women to develop piriformis syndrome at a ratio of 6:1.

Direct trauma: Direct injury to the buttock can result in swelling, a hematoma and/or adhesions to develop in the muscle compressing the sciatic nerve.

Prolonged sitting: Prolonged sitting can directly compress the sciatic nerve. One example is sitting repetitively on a thick wallet on a hard surface directly applying pressure to the muscle and sciatic nerve.

Overuse or repetitive motions: Overuse includes activities such as running or cycling which result in increased muscle use and overdevelopment or spasm of the piriformis muscle.

Overpronation at the foot and ankle: Overpronation changes the function of the lower extremity increasing stress to the piriformis and thus inflammation and tightening.

Hormone changes: Hormone changes usually impact women, such as pregnancy, and change the stability and function of the pelvic region.

The treatment of piriformis syndrome rarely requires surgery. Chiropractic treatments, massage therapy, and rehabilitative exercises and stretches are the most successful treatment interventions to resolve piriformis syndrome. What leads to their success? Identifying the underlying cause of the piriformis syndrome and correcting these triggers to prevent repetitive stress or recurrence.

First, identify what you can at home. Have you had a fall or trauma to the area of your buttock and pelvis? If so, stop and seek appropriate medical care from your chiropractic physician or primary care specialist. Have you changed any of your habits recently? Taken up a new love of running? Working longer hours at the computer? How old are your sneakers? What kind of shoes are you wearing to walk? If you can make any improvements here, they go a long way towards eliminating this pain in the butt.

Second, set up an appointment with your chiropractic physician. The chiropractor will perform a physical examination that includes thorough orthopedic and neurological testing, while also analyzing gait and structure. Treatment will likely consist of chiropractic joint manipulation, stretches and exercises to do at home, and therapies to reduce spasm, pain, and inflammation. Above all, eliminating your piriformis syndrome, completely and quickly!


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