Causes of Piriformis Syndrome
- Piriformis syndrome is a condition created by the pinching of the sciatic nerve. This occurs in the area known as the "gluteal region." Normally, this nerve exits below the muscle called "piriformis" and above a second muscle called "gemellus." If either of these muscles tightens or shortens, however, the nerve can become trapped, creating the problem.
- Piriformis syndrome can also occur if the sciatic nerve is trapped in another, separate location. This is caused by the nerve pushing into the muscle and can occur in up to 10 percent of people.
Contraction of the piriformis muscle affects the nerve and can cause pain in the thigh and leg areas. Numbness and tingling symptoms can also result.
- Piriformis syndrome is often misdiagnosed as a similar condition called "sciatica." While the symptoms are similar, they are caused by different factors. Sciatica is caused when the lumbar disc presses into the nerve and is not caused by muscle issues.
Both conditions create similar effects, which often include pain and tingling.
Several different options for treating piriformis syndrome exist. These usually center on a therapeutic massage, in addition to proper stretching. In more severe cases, anti-inflammatory medicine can be used to reduce pain.