Piriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder that occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated by the piriformis muscle. This may lead to pain, tingling, or numbness along the distribution of the sciatic nerve along the back of the leg. In most cases the sciatic never is compressed just below the piriformis muscle located deep to the larger gluteal muscles. Causes of tight piriformis muscles include sitting for long periods of time, blunt trauma, anatomic variations, pelvic dysfunction, and much more.
Individuals suffering from piriformis syndrome typically present with pain at the gluteal muscles that can shoot down their leg. Treatment in office includes deep tissue therapy to help reset the muscle tone, adjustments to the low back, pelvis, hips and knees, followed up by stretches to be performed at home. In order to correct this condition it is crucial to address the mobility and function of the entire pelvic girdle and keep the piriformis muscle nice and relaxed. Glute stretches should be performed regularly to help relax the piroformis muscle and alleviate the pressure being placed on the sciatic nerve. Due to local irritation and likely inflammation of the nerve, ice is recommended as a way to reduce the inflammation of the tissues.
There are other structures in this region that may also lead to sciatic irritation. These include the gemellar or obturator muscles, fascial tissue, and other soft tissues. Regardless, piriformis syndrome responds extremely well to chiropractic care. With appropriately applied adjustments, proper rehabilitation routines and stretches, and lifestyle modifications, the prognosis is favorable! If this sounds like something you may be experiencing, swing by the office for some treatment to get back on track!