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Piriformis Syndrome 101

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a painful and sometimes debilitating condition. It’s a problem with the piriformis muscle, which is a small muscle located within the buttock. The muscle extends from the base of the spine to the top of the thigh. Without treatment, it’s possible for some patients to develop permanent nerve damage. Most patients can recover well with conservative treatments, including physical therapy.

Common Symptoms

Piriformis syndrome is an acute condition that causes pain in the buttock and reduced range of motion of the hip joint. As the piriformis muscle presses on the sciatic nerve, patients can experience sciatic pain. This can cause intense, burning pain in the buttock, and down the back of the thigh and calf. Patients may also suffer from:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain that worsens after sitting for too long
  • Pain while climbing stairs or walking up inclines
  • Weakness, numbness, and tingling down the leg

Possible Causes

Doctors aren’t quite sure exactly why some patients develop piriformis syndrome. It’s thought that some patients may develop it because the muscle, hip, or sacroiliac joint becomes irritated. The irritation can cause a major muscle spasm, which may cause this condition. Other possible causes may include:

  • Contraction of the muscle after an injury
  • Muscle swelling
  • Bleeding near the muscle

Recommended Treatments

Patients should temporarily cease doing the physical activity that causes pain. A physical therapist can lead patients through a series of gentle stretches and exercises intended to rehabilitate the muscle. Over-the-counter pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be appropriate for sciatica treatment. Some patients find significant relief with ice packs, while others think it feels better to alternate ice and heat therapy. If these treatments aren’t enough to relieve pain, patients may benefit from a corticosteroid injection. This injection can support progress in physical therapy, as it will relieve pain and reduce swelling.

Here at The Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers, it’s our mission to help our patients live a pain-free, productive life. Book an appointment with a physical therapist in The Woodlands, and we’ll develop a personalized treatment plan to deal with your nerve and muscle pain. Call us at (281) 297-8105.

Dr. Mark Yezak
Mark Yezak, BS, DC, is the founder, chiropractic director, and chief of staff at Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers. Offering 25 years of experience. Dr. Yezak is a published author of research papers, books, and journal entries. He is undoubtedly a leader in his field.
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Contact & Locations

Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers, The Woodlands, TX
Phone: 281-362-0006
Address: 3101 College Park Dr, The Woodlands, TX 77384
Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers, Houston, TX
Phone: 713-652-4052
Address: 2202 La Branch Street, Houston, TX 77002
Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers, Houston, TX
Phone: (281) 240-2225
Address: 16035 Lexington Blvd #100A Sugar Land, TX 77479

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