The piriformis is a muscle that originates on the sacrum at the base of your spine, and attaches onto the greater trochanter of the thigh bone. In most people, the sciatic nerve travels through the piriformis muscle. Piriformis syndrome is a condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated by the piriformis muscle which causes pain. It can often mimic the symptoms of sciatica. Piriformis syndrome is commonly caused by a tight or over-used piriformis muscle due to sacroiliac joint dysfunction, weak hip stability muscles or flat feet.
Physiotherapy Treatment for Piriformis Syndrome
Physiotherapy can be effective in the management of piriformis syndrome. A Physiotherapist will take a detailed history and complete a comprehensive assessment, to determine the root cause of your piriformis syndrome, and to rule out sciatica. With this information, the physiotherapist will develop an individualized treatment plan to treat your piriformis syndrome. Based on the root cause of your piriformis syndrome, and your symptoms, your individualized treatment plan may include:
- Manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue release, mobilization or manipulation
- An individualized exercise program including muscle strengthening and stretching.
- Education on activity modification while you recover, posture, sleep positions, and how to prevent re-occurrence of the injury
- Modalities such as acupuncture, TENS, ultrasound, heat or ice
Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome
Individuals with piriformis syndrome commonly experience pain in one buttock, which can radiate down the back of the leg (similar to sciatica). Pain from piriformis syndrome is typically aggravated by activities that involve your hip, such as walking or prolonged sitting.
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