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Piriformis Syndrome

General Description

Piriformis syndrome is an uncommon neuromuscular disorder that results from the piriformis muscle compressing the sciatic nerve. This muscle is flat and band-like, located in the buttocks area near the top part of the hip joint. This muscle helps stabilize the hip joint and allows the thigh to lift and rotate away from the body. This is the function that allows us to walk, and in more detail, shift our weight from one foot to another while maintaining a sense of balance.

Causes

The sciatic nerve that gets pinched is a thick and long nerve in the body. This nerve goes through the piriformis muscle, which runs down the leg and parts to end up in little nerves that end at the feet. If there is ever a spasm in the piriformis muscle, it can cause it to get irritated, tightened, swelled, or even bleed in the area around it. Symptoms that this has occurred include tingling, pain, or numbness that is located in the foot, calf, or back of the thigh, calf.

Typical Treatment

Try to notice and avoid any positions that trigger pain in a certain sport. Usually, rest, ice, and heat are very helping in helping to relieve symptoms. Physical therapy can be customized to include a routine of stretches and exercises to help reduce the compression of the sciatic nerve. Pain medication, muscle relaxants, or anesthetic injections may be prescribed. It is important to stick to the plan of physical therapy to avoid further hurting the affected area, and from this lengthening the time of recovery.

How to Prevent it

Good form is the best method of prevention for piriformis syndrome. This is because it is generally caused by a repeated movement or sport type that continuously places stress on the muscle. If you are prone to getting this injury, avoid running or doing any sort of exercise on hills and uneven surfaces. This will prevent any unnecessary pressure. Also make sure to warm up and cool down properly after exercise, and gradually raise the intensity. Always make sure to use the best posture or form when walking, running, or doing any exercise. If you feel any sort of odd pain, stop what you are doing, and rest until the pain goes away. If it is persistent, see a doctor.