The Association of Sciatic Pain and Piriformis Syndrome
Piriformis syndrome is a condition due to injury to the sciatic nerve hence it is quite similar to sciatic pain. In this condition, the piriformis muscle rubs the sciatic nerve causing severe and intense pain in the back which radiates down to the lower extremity. This is prevalent among women as well as athletes particularly marathon runners and walkers.
The piriformis muscle is a small muscle lying deep in the back just behind the gluteus maximus, the largest gluteal muscle. The piriformis muscle stems from the lower spine and connects to the upper portion of each thighbone. It helps facilitate turning of the hips and runs with the sciatic nerve that extends vertically under it.
When the piriformis muscle is stretched, it can exert pressure on the underlying sciatic nerve causing pain. This stress experienced by the sciatic nerve can lead to pain in the lower back radiating down to the leg. It is therefore quite similar to that of sciatic pain. Even though piriformis syndrome does not actually cause the sciatic pain, it can cause soreness, numbness and itchiness throughout the area where the sciatic nerve innervates.
If you're one of the people suffering from sciatic pain or piriformis syndrome, you will be advised by your orthopedist to engage in some stretching routines that are beneficial in dealing with your condition.
* Piriformis muscle stretches - You can get rid of the pain by stretching your piriformis muscle and doing it in various poses.
* Other exercises to address the pain associated with the sciatic nerve
* These stretching exercises can strengthen not only your piriformis muscles, but your hamstring muscles and hip extensor muscles as well.
Some laboratory tests may be used to diagnose piriformis syndrome, but there are no specific tests to absolutely confirm diagnosis of this condition. But, results of imaging techniques like MRI and X-rays can help your doctor rule out any other possible diseases.
It is good to undergo physical therapy as it can help relieve muscle spasm and soreness associated with stretching exercises. You can also use physical therapy as an adjunct to local pain relievers or by directly injecting steroids to the affected part. Piriformis syndrome normally does not require surgical treatment. But, if you have tried all conservative treatment options to no avail, then the only option left for you is surgery.
If you suffer from piriformis syndrome, you need to avoid engaging in sports and activities that trigger pain, like biking and running. Also if you notice your pain worsens when sitting or rising quickly, you should slowly change your sitting position and avoid standing up if you're unable to do so. You should also try to undergo any physical therapy to deal with piriformis syndrome and sciatic pain. But be sure to have this only under the guidance of a qualified well-experienced trainer.