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What is Piriformis and where is it located?

Piriformis is a flat muscle and is located in your buttock. It starts from the low back and connects to the upper surface of the thigh bone. It is responsible for rotating the hip and turning the leg and foot outward (such as when raising your knee and bringing your leg out when getting out of a car seat, or getting out of bed). This muscle is important as it stabilizes the hip joint and enables us to walk, shift our weight from one leg to the other and maintain balance.

Generally, this muscle runs beneath the sciatic nerve, however, in some people, the nerve might pass through the muscle.

What is Piriformis Syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome is a painful musculoskeletal condition in which the piriformis muscle spasms and causes buttock pain. The piriformis muscle can also irritate the nearby sciatic nerve and cause pain, numbness and tingling along the back of the leg and into the foot.

What causes PS?

Here are a few common causes of Piriformis Syndrome :

  • Some microtrauma in the buttock or to the nearby structure like the sacroiliac joint or hip joint leads to inflammation, and muscle spasms with or without sciatic nerve compression.
  • Tightening or shortening of muscles due to alteration in the biomechanics of the knee or ankle joints or both.
  • Result of post-surgical inflammation.
  • Repetitive pressure/injury e.g. sitting with the wallet in your back pocket, cross-leg sitting on the chair, long hours sitting leaning on one side.
  • An active trigger point.

What are the signs and symptoms of PS?

Typical Piriformis Syndrome symptoms include :

  • Buttock pain
  • Pain in the buttock, or hip while walking upstairs or climbing up inclines.
  • Pain after long hours of sitting.
  • Pain while getting out of bed or car.
  • Pain down the back of the thigh and calf.
  • Tenderness on the buttock.

How to Heal from Piriformis Syndrome?

To recover from Piriformis syndrome we need to diagnose the root cause and fix it. It is important to understand that Piriformis Syndrome could be a result of muscle imbalances or/and possible postural deviations. If left untreated it might irritate the sciatic nerve, further worsening the symptoms down the legs, weakness, altered gait, reduced mobility and affecting the quality of life.

If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of piriformis syndrome and want to know more about what you can do, book a consultation with one of our healthcare team members of physiotherapists and chiropractors. Our model of patient-centred care in a collaborative multi-disciplinary environment will ensure you get the right care, at the right time and in the right place. Most people seeking services at CURAVITA are able to come in for a consultation and assessment on the same day or the day after. Schedule an appointment today to get answers to your questions. Book online or call us at our Byward Clinic at 613-860-8600 or our  Glebe Clinic at 613-237-9000.

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