Piriformis Syndrome

Have you felt pain in the hip? Pain in the center of your butt? Or even pain down the back of the leg? You may be suffering from a condition called piriformis syndrome. The piriformis is a muscle which runs from your the middle of your sacrum (or tailbone) to the outer hip bone (trochanter). This muscle may be working overtime on your body. From athletes to the workaholic this muscle gets overused.

The muscles in and around the gluteal region help with three areas

  • rotation of the hip and leg
  • stability of the pelvic region
  • balance while one foot is off the ground

Needless to say, all of these characteristics are highly needed by runners (and everyone else, when you really think about it).

Causes of Piriformis Syndrome

sitting on wallet

Injuries to the Piriformis

This muscle is a prime suspect for repetitive stress injury (RSI). RSI occurs when a muscle is asked to perform beyond its level of function, not given enough time to recover, and asked to perform again. The typical response from a muscle in this situation is to grip hard. This is a defensive response of the muscle. This tightness, however, presents itself in several ways to an athlete.

The first symptom suggesting piriformis syndrome would be a pain in and around the outer hip bone. The gripping of the muscle produces increased tension between the tendon and the bone which produces either direct discomfort and pain or an increased tension in the joint producing bursitis. A bursitis is an inflammation of the fluid-filled sac in a joint caused by an elevation of stress and tension within that joint according to medicinenet.com.

The second symptom suggesting piriformis syndrome would be pain directly in the center of the buttocks. Although this is not as common as the other two symptoms, this pain can be elicited with direct compression over the belly of the gluteal area. A tight muscle is a sore muscle upon compression due to a reduced blood flow to that muscle.

The third symptom suggesting piriformis syndrome would be a sciatica nerve pain from the buttocks down the back of the leg and sometimes into different parts of the leg.

piriformis and sciatica

The sciatic nerve runs right through the belly of the piriformis muscle and if the piriformis muscle contracts from being overused, the sciatic nerve now becomes compressed, producing pain, tingling, and even numbness.

Tips for Piriformis Syndrome

The piriformis muscle is pretty important for all of us. If you’ve been diagnosed with piriformis syndrome and require treatment, we would love to meet you. To schedule an appointment with our San Francisco Chiropractor, please call 415–415–1115 or book an appointment online.