Piriformis syndrome is a common cause of sciatica pain that radiates from the low back or buttocks down one or both legs. Pain can vary from mild to severe and be constant or occur only occasionally.
Arthritis or injury can cause spasm in the piriformis muscle, which can pinch the sciatic nerve that runs underneath or passes through the muscle and then down the back of the leg. This can cause inflammation and pain from which you may seek relief with chiropractic treatment. Developing a better understanding of piriformis syndrome and its causes can help you determine whether chiropractic therapies may be beneficial to you.
What It Is
The piriformis is a muscle in the gluteal region that runs from the sacrum – a bone in the lower back – to the upper end of the hip joint. The muscle helps to stabilize the pelvic area and move the legs at the hip joint. But problems can arise when inflammation causes the sciatic nerve to become compressed, leading to irritation and pain. Repetitive motion injuries, a fall, or other trauma to the area can cause additional symptoms including tingling, pins and needles sensations, or numbness.
Spasm of the piriformis muscle can make it painful to walk. You also may find it difficult to lift and rotate your hips and legs, shift your weight, or maintain your balance.
Symptoms That Indicate a Problem
Although the symptoms of piriformis syndrome differ in intensity among individuals, the earlier your symptoms are diagnosed, the more favorably you may respond to treatment. Symptoms you may suffer include:
- Muscle weakness in the leg along the sciatic nerve
- Pain around the outer hip bone
- Hip bursitis – inflammation of the fluid-filled sac in the hip joint
- Tendinitis, which can cause back and hip pain, sciatica, or shooting pain down the legs
- Pain in the middle of the buttocks
- Pain that runs from the buttocks down the back of the thigh to the lower leg
Sitting for long periods, climbing stairs, playing sports or participating in other rigorous activities and applying direct pressure over the piriformis muscle can trigger pain.
Treatment Options a Chiropractor Can Offer
Chiropractic treatments that may help to alleviate pain related to piriformis syndrome include:
- Application of cold therapy to reduce inflammation
- Ultrasound to increase circulation and reduce muscle spasms
- Gentle stretches and hip exercises to improve range of motion and help reduce sciatic nerve compression once acute pain has eased
- Massage to relax muscle tightness and increase blood flow to the area for faster healing
- Manual manipulation of the sacroiliac joint anatomy that connects the bone at the bottom of the spine with the pelvis on each side
- Stretching of the piriformis muscle
With the different chiropractic treatment modalities available, once the cause of piriformis syndrome has been identified, chiropractic treatment may be effective for improving symptoms and reducing your pain.
For more information, speak with an experienced chiropractor like Wheatcroft David Dr.