Piriformis Syndrome

One of the most common syndromes we will see here at the clinic on both the chiropractic aspect and the massage therapy aspect, is Piriformis Syndrome.

Piriformis Syndrome is the direct compression of the sciatic nerve causing referred pain (commonly known as sciatica) which is likely due to tension arriving from the piriformis muscle itself but the pain may also originate from decreased laminar space in the intervertebral discs of the spine.

The piriformis is an oblique muscle deep in the glutes originating from the base of the spine, the sacrum, and inserting itself into the bony aspect that forms the hip joint. Sciatica pain can be caused from multiple variables, however the most common are direct trauma, likely from a motor vehicle accident, or from overuse and/or postural imbalances. Another form of direct trauma to the nerve can be from much more frequent irritations, such as those who carry their wallet in their back pocket.

When these people are to be seated their pelvis will be shifted from the increased height of the wallet, causing lower back pain but also direct pressure on the Piriformis muscle from the weight of your body onto your sit bones. This compression, especially if done frequently, will begin to squish and irritate the sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve is our largest, longest and thickest of all nerve fibres, starting in the lumbar spine and spanning down to the tips of the toes. This unfortunately means that the pain doesn’t generally stay local, but tends to travel the entire length (majority) of the nerve. The pain, as most patients can attest, can, and likely will shoot down to the toes themselves and is generally relieved by performing some external hip rotations.

If you are experiencing pain within the hip/glute which is altering your gait (how you walk), pain with prolonged sitting, radiating pain going down the back and outer side of the leg which can reach down to the toes, decreased range of hip mobility, numbness or tingling we suggest you come to the clinic for an assessment and therapeutic treatment to help alleviate the muscular tension in the region and regain that pep in your step!