Many may be wondering what that “Piriformis” word even means. Piriformis is a muscle that diagonally crosses your buttock. This muscle is important with lower body movement because it stabilizes the hip joint, as well as lifts and rotates the thigh away from the body. The Piriformis muscle allows us to walk by shifting our weight from one foot to the other, therefore helping to maintain balance. The Piriformis muscle is also used in sports that involve lifting and rotating the thighs – which we can agree is in almost every motion of the hips and legs in active sports.
This muscle can be troublesome for several reasons, but the one that it is most notorious for would be “pseudo” sciatica. The Piriformis muscle is often tight from daily activities but if it becomes too tight, it can push on the sciatic nerve that passes by underneath.
Piriformis Syndrome can go undiagnosed for a long period of time because when someone has “sciatica” they assume it comes from the lower back vertebrae pushing on the sciatic nerve. However, if the muscles in the buttock are very tight and tender with palpation, sciatica could be caused by the Piriformis muscle. Increased tightness in the Piriformis muscle will cause sciatic pain by pushing on the sciatic nerve below. In a small percentage of the population, about 17%, their sciatic nerve perforates the Piriformis muscle.
The issue with this occurrence is if the Piriformis muscle is tight (a common problem) that lucky person is guaranteed sciatica.
How do you know if you have Piriformis Syndrome? We would be able to diagnose whether you have “true” sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome in our facility. With examination and testing done in the office, we can determine the cause and how we can help you!
What can we do to help? You might be surprised at all the options we have for Piriformis Syndrome. After your examination and testing, a treatment plan would be developed just for you. We would address the biomechanics of how your Piriformis muscle became so tight with a Physical Therapy evaluation. In addition to helping with muscle hypertonicity, Trigger Point Injections (TPI) to the Piriformis could be the game-changer that you are looking for!
Call our office today at 262-898-9000 or schedule online and let our team help you!
Dr. Sue Reinke, DC