Piriformis Syndrome: That Pain You Can’t Explain

Piriformis syndrome is caused when the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve. The muscle is important to lower body movement–almost every motion of the hips and legs is controlled by it. When the muscle spasms, movement can be quite painful.

Getting an accurate diagnosis is critical to the success of the treatment. If your chiropractor is the one diagnosing, he or she will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your spine, pelvis and related muscles. A neurological examination may also be done because dysfunction in the sacroiliac (SI) joint can contribute to weakness in other muscles.

The chiropractor will perform a number of tests; some may seem strange but all have a purpose in an accurate diagnosis. For example, the doctor may look at the direction of your feet while lying on your back. A tight piriformis muscle can cause one foot to point outwards more than the other. He or she may press spots along the muscle which then trigger pain points down the leg. Additional tests, like the Bonnet’s Test may be performed to rule out a disc injury and confirm if the sciatic nerve is being irritated by the piriformis muscle.

Once piriformis syndrome is confirmed, treatment can begin. Chiropractic adjustments focus on restoring function to the pelvic and spinal joints. Active Release Technique (ART) and Theralase® may be used to stop the muscle from compressing the sciatic nerve. The chiropractor may recommend massage, or stretching and strengthening exercises after adjustments. Ensuring your car and workstation are ergonomically correct is important to preventing future problems.

Eliminating the discomfort of piriformis syndrome and healing the area is highly successful once the underlying problems are corrected. Almost always, you can resume normal activities though you’ll want to be mindful of those that could cause a recurrence (like extreme exercising or sitting for long periods of time without stretching).

If you are suffering from symptoms that sound like piriformis syndrome, call Dr. Roach today. He and his team can diagnose and correct the issue, getting you moving again, pain free.

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