Piriformis Syndrome: A Pain in the Butt

You have probably heard the phrase “What a pain in the butt!” There are many for whom this becomes quite literal as they experience pain, numbness, tingling or a combination of these in the buttocks and can also radiate into the back of the leg and even into the foot. These symptoms can have a variety of causes but one less common one is Piriformis Syndrome.

The piriformis is a flat band-like muscle in the buttocks that originates just above your tailbone(sacroiliac region) and attaches to the top portion of the femur or upper thigh bone. With overuse from things such as long distance running, prolonged sitting, dehydration or even electrolyte abnormalities the piriformis muscle may spasm. The sciatic nerve is nearby which can be affected by the muscle spasm and nerve irritations cause symptoms such as numbness and tingling along the back of the leg and into the foot.

One way to help a muscle in spasm is to gently stretch it out. To stretch the piriformis, lay on your back with your knees bent. Cross your right ankle over your left knee and pull right knee up towards chest angled towards left shoulder. Repeat other side.

Other conditions can produce similar symptoms so it is important to consult your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms described in this post. The providers at Team Health Care Clinic have experience with a variety of conditions including Piriformis Syndrome and will recommend a treatment plan to help you recover as quickly as possible.

Emily Franklin, PTA

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