Piriformis Syndrome – How to Get Rid of a 'Pain in the Butt'

Piriformis syndrome is a condition that causes a 'pain in the butt' and occurs when the piriformis muscle is irritated and spasms. It is a difficult condition to diagnose and treat as it can mimic many other conditions such as sciatica, disc disease, arthritis and hip pain, leaving individuals with a pain in the butt that won't go away.

The piriformis is a deep muscle that runs sideways from the tailbone to the hip. It helps stabilize and rotate the hip and is active with walking, running, squatting and bending. We find it is a muscle that is prone to spasm. In 96% of people, the sciatic nerve runs under or through the muscle so when it is tight or spasms, it can compress the nerve causing symptoms into the leg similar to sciatica.

Common causes of piriformis syndrome includes overuse due to too much walking, running, doing steps or lifting, trauma from falling onto the buttocks or from sitting too long, specifically on hard surfaces or with a wallet in the back pocket. We also find it is very common in people with low back pain as many nerves from the back runs to and through this area. People with this condition will feel a deep ache in the butt and hip which may get sharp with walking, twisting and sitting. Bending to tie your shoes may also be painful. As the sciatic nerve may be involved, people may also feel pain, burning, tingling and numbness in the hip and leg.

There are a number of clinical tests that can help identify piriformis syndrome. This includes feeling a tender lump deep in the buttocks, having one leg rolled outwards when you are lying down and pain when the muscle is placed on stretch. Once identified, you have a better chance of fixing the problem.

Treatment for piriformis syndrome should be focused on decreasing irritation on the muscle and helping the tightness/spasm release. This can be done through hands-on soft tissue releases including trigger point and myofascial releases. Once released, you are able stretch the muscle and work on strengthening to return it back to its normal state. We also find many people have soft tissue and strength imbalances that need to be addressed which may have been the cause of the problem in the first place.

At FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers, our expertise is using hands on techniques to help reduce pain, tightness/spasms so people can exercise in order to allow their injuries to heal and get back to living life to the fullest. We understand many people have a pain in their butt and may be able to help them get rid of it.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 570-501-1808. You can also find more about us at http://www.fyzical.com/hazleton or catch or TV show "Wellness Through FYZICAL Therapy" on WYLN Daily.

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