Is my sciatica actually piriformis syndrome?

Both sciatica and piriformis syndrome produce similar symptoms. In our post on sciatica we talk about how sciatica is caused by an irritation of the nerve typically due to a spinal pathology. However, piriformis syndrome will cause a compression of and irritate the sciatic nerve. Piriformis syndrome can have symptoms that follow a similar trend of sciatica; there are complaints of a persistent and radiating lower back pain, whilst a numbness and difficulty walking is also felt.

What could my glute pain be?

Piriformis syndrome is one of the most common causes of glute pain in the current population. However, this could be a whole multitude of things and needs to be accurately diagnosed by a professional. The pain could be anything from a spinal pathology, an inflamed bursa or tendinopathy, to a name a few. By performing specific tests the healthcare professional can determine the cause of the pain and put together an action plan to fix this.

What is the piriformis muscle?

The piriformis muscle is a deep lying flat muscle located in the gluteal region. It originates from the sacrum, bottom end of the spine, and attaches into the greater trochanter (the bump on the outside of the upper leg). This muscles aids with a few movements. When in standing the muscle will laterally rotate the hip, abduct the leg when the hip is in a flexed position; whilst it also aids the pelvis tilt.

What can I do to alleviate this pain in my piriformis?

Ultimately, the main aim should be to release the muscle. The easiest and best way for this to take place is by booking in for a treatment. Going through the process of seeing a healthcare professional will make sure the true reason of your pain can be determined. In the mean time, you can use hot/cold packs for pain relief and to reduce the inflammation on the sciatic nerve. Then following this initial bout of pain relief, there should be stretching and strengthening exercises implemented. However, this should only be done following consultation with a professional, so that it is specific to your problem.

How can I release the piriformis without having a treatment?

Following your consultation, you will have several exercises to complete. These exercises will target the direct cause and prevent it from occurring again. Below we have chosen three products that can help you. By placing the trigger point balls into the piriformis and applying some pressure you can release the tight tissue beneath, in this case the piriformis. The 3rd product on the list is a bargain, getting 4 products that can assist not only in the release of the piriformis but help complete the stretching and strengthening exercises.