Piriformis syndrome is a result of impingement of the sciatic nerve by the piraformis muscle.
The symptoms of piriformis syndrome are very similar and are often closely associated with sciatica. In some cases, the condition actually causes sciatic nerve irritation.
Because the sciatic nerve runs underneath or through the middle of the piriformis muscle, when the muscles are tight in this area it puts pressure and may compress the sciatic nerve and develop sciatica symptoms. This is one of the main reasons sciatica and piriformis syndrome are often misdiagnosed.
Many of my client with piriformis syndrome have many symptoms that typically consist of persistent and radiating low back pain, (chronic) buttock pain, numbness, difficulty with walking and other functional activities such as pain with prolonged sitting, standing and even pain with bowel movements.
The immediate treatment (24 – 48 hours) is to follow the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). Then we start a treatment of heat and massage to promote blood flow and healing. Myofacial Cupping can be great in assisting with increased blood flow.
Strengthening the gluteal muscles and increasing the flexibility of the adductors will help alleviate some of the stress and prevent the piriformis from becoming tight. Stretching of the hip muscles is also essential.
Other tips to help with your pain in the butt (pun intended) include:
- Avoid sitting for a long period
- Stand and walk every 20 minutes
- Make frequent stops when driving to stand and stretch
Below are some of the stretches I like to go through with my clients as the starting point to assist in stretching your gluteal muscles. For more pain relief and assistance book your Remedial Massage appointment.