The piriformis muscle is a flat band-like muscle in the buttocks near the hip joint. This muscle is responsible for stabilizing the hip joint, enable us to walk and most importantly, maintain body balance. Piriformis syndrome is, therefore, a very rare neuromuscular disorder that occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated by the piriformis muscle. The most common risks that cause piriformis syndrome are overuse of the muscle mostly from sports or exercise among other conditions. It is basically due to compression or contraction of the muscle on some areas of the sciatic nerve.
Causes of Piriformis Syndrome
High chances of piriformis syndrome are in case of an injury, a fall or blow to the hip area and in a car accident. When the hip region is hit, it would cause an injury to the sciatic nerve and the piriformis muscle.
Trauma caused by frequent running, exaggerated exercises, and even over-stretching. The muscle wear and with time affects the static nerve making it impossible to even walk.
Long sitting hours will gradually cause piriformis syndrome. The piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic muscle and mostly you realize that your buttocks and legs become numb.
Instances where an individuals buttock muscles waste away due to other factors. That individual is likely to acquire piriformis syndrome.
During pregnancy due to the heavyweight exerted to the legs, hip, and lower back.
A sudden change from a sedentary life to more frequent exercising. It may cause trauma to the piriformis muscle
Bending and getting up consecutively in a short sp[an of time. This wears out the piriformis muscle. The muscles in your buttocks help you work while bending. Imgn doing the same bending for two hours consecutively, the muscle becomes very tired.
Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome
Severe pains in the buttocks even in the slightest strenuous activity e.g running or climbing a staircase. The pain is especially felt on one side any type of activity that requires the use of your thigh and buttock muscles becomes hard to do.
Presence of a sharp pain that is felt from the lower back and radiates down below the knee.
Tingling, general numbness when you relax your muscles during rest or even during activities. Mostly, the numbness is felt after sitting for prolonged hours.
Inability to stand upright since the pain is triggered by standing and neutralized by sitting down. Sometime, the pain may shoot down the armstring and cause a muscle spasm to the thigh.
Pain radiates from the back to the front making it hard to walk.
Sharp pains in the lower back and very tender spots on the hip or buttocks.
The pain may extend as far as the foot, down the length of the sciatic nerve.
Severe buttock pain that makes it impossible to work or even exercise
Treatment for Piriformis Syndrome
Stretching and simple gentle exercises help ease the pain of the syndrome. More challenging exercises can be done after the condition improves.
Use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to manage pain so that it becomes easier to exercise gently. The drugs help control pain.
Rest is very helpful especially in the first days after the injury. This will ensure that you avoid activities that worsen the pain and give time for your muscles to heal.
After enough resting, practice some strengthening activities to support the buttock muscles and hips, moving the hips against resistance is actually very effective and speeds up healing.
Gently massaging of the surrounding muscles could help. Some people will prefer a massage session with ice or heat packs.
Heat is used for some time then is alternated with a cold for a few days. This helps relax the muscle and reduce pain.
In rare circumstances, a surgical method is used where they relieve the tightness of the muscle and the compression of the static nerve to minimize pain.
Clinical injections may be of help, it is accompanied by physical therapy to regain the use of the piriformis and prevent any harm to the surrounding muscles.
Back pains prove to be very disturbing whenever you are either working or working out and especially when you feel the radiating pain in your back. You may not be sure of what exactly the problem is but Piriformis syndrome is more felt close to your hip and is hard to confuse with normal exhaustion pain after work. Piriformis syndrome lacks any simple diagnostic test so it causes much irritation on the sciatic nerve. Mostly, individuals describe it as a pain in the buttocks, thigh, and foot but if not treated, piriformis syndrome symptoms can get worse with time. We now have a solution right?
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