Piriformis Syndrome is a medical condition causing muscle spasms and pain in the leg and buttocks. This syndrome occurs when the piriformis muscle becomes inflamed or spasms, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve and causing pain and discomfort. The piriformis muscle runs from the lower spine to the buttocks and assists in the hip rotation process when the leg and foot are turned outward.
The pain from the piriformis muscle is usually located in the posterior part of the buttock and can get aggravated with physical activity or prolonged seating. If the sciatic nerve is irritated it can cause numbness or tingling along to the back of the leg and into the foot.
The exact cause of Piriformis syndrome is not known but some of the suspected causes include:
- Swelling of the piriformis muscle due to an injury
- Tightening of the piriformis muscle due to an injury
- Bleeding in the area of the piriformis muscle due to an injury
- Muscle spasm in the piriformis muscle, from irritation of the muscle or the nearby structures like the hip or sacroiliac joint
The Piriformis syndrome starts with pain, numbness and tingling in the buttocks. The pain and the other sensations may differ from one person to others and can be mild, moderate or severe. Even though primarily these symptoms are located in the buttocks they can extend down to the legs and toes.
The Piriformis syndrome can be triggered from climbing stairs, sitting for a long time or compression of the piriformis muscle.
Piriformis syndrome is diagnosed based on each patient’s symptoms as there is no single examination or diagnostic tests for this condition.
The treatment will depend on the cause and the severity of pain and symptoms. Most common treatment solutions are: