Piriformis Syndrome

What is it?

Piriformis syndrome is literally a pain in the bottom. Tightness and over activity of a deep muscle in your buttock called your piriformis can compress the sciatic nerve which runs through it and cause sharp buttock pain.

What does it feel like?

  • It can feel like a hot poker in one buttock.
  • You may find it difficult to bend over, for example put shoes on, without getting sharp pain.
  • Your lower back and buttock muscles may feel tender and sore to touch.

What causes piriformis syndrome sprain?

The main buttock muscles in your hip are the gluteal muscles and are on the surface. Deep to the three gluteal muscles is a small but thick muscle called the piriformis. This acts as a stabiliser for your pelvis. If you repetitively bend from the hips and the gluteals get tired then the piriformis muscle will over-work and spasm. This spasm causes a pinch on the sciatic nerve that travels through the piriformis producing a sharp pain in the buttock and some people feel nerve symptoms down the leg as well.

How is piriformis syndrome diagnosed?

Your Physiotherapist can diagnose piriformis syndrome from your symptoms and from hearing about how the injury happened. Your therapist will assess you thoroughly to eliminate lower back, pelvis, hips or knees as the cause of pain before performing some basic tests for strength, length and point of pain.

How can Back in Action Physiotherapy help?

At Back in Action we might need to treat your lower back or pelvis, then gently treat your piriformis muscle with massage or muscle energy techniques. We will advise and educate you about appropriate stretches and prognosis. We take the time to determine the exact cause of your injury and help teach you how to avoid it occurring again. Once we have you moving again we ensure you have a specific home exercise program which incorporates stretches and core stability exercises to prevent any recurrence.