Piriformis Syndrome- a very real pain in the bum
For such a small muscle, the piriformis can cause a lot of discomfort, both locally in the buttock and down the leg too.
Attaching from the tail bone (sacrum) to the upper part of your leg, the main role of this muscle is to turn the leg outwards.
Piriformis syndrome can develop when tension in the muscle irritates the sciatic nerve, leading to pain. Sufferers will often complain of pain, tenderness and occasionally numbness in the buttock. This can radiate down the back of the leg and may even reach as far as the calf.
The reasons for it developing may include the following factors
-weak buttock muscles and tight leg flexors
-poor gait and flat feet
-overuse of the muscle and excess sitting, often with legs crossed or on hard surfaces.
-low back stiffness or imbalance
-direct injury to the area
So what can be done to help?
There are several approaches to treatment and no one method will work for all.
1- Exercise and stretching- Often the muscle may be tight as it is compensating for weakness in other areas. Look to strengthen to low back and core to assist ease of the buttock symptoms. Stretching the gluteals and piriformis muscles may also help.
2- Heat- Try applying heat to the area for 10 minutes, several times a day.
3- Medication- anti-inflammatories may be worth a try for shorter term use. Tumeric may also offer some relief of symptoms too.
4- Manual therapy to loosen areas that are tight and mobilise stiff joints can help aid recovery. A manual therapist may also provide exercise and daily living advice which can improve progress.
5- Acupuncture into the area can help to ease muscle tension and lessen pain.
For more help and advice, call the team at Broadwater Osteopaths on 01903 820206 or see our website at worthingosteopathy.com