Piriformis syndrome is an uncommon cause of pain and other symptoms in the buttocks and/or lower back that can radiate down the leg to the foot.
Piriformis syndrome is usually due to compression or contraction of the piriformis muscle on certain areas of the sciatic nerve; the most common risk factors are overuse or trauma from sports, but other conditions can cause the symptoms.
The signs and symptoms of piriformis syndrome may include
severe pain when attempting certain movements (for example climbing stairs, walking, running).
Diagnosis is primarily based upon the patient's history and physical exam; other more common, similar problems are diagnosed or ruled out by CT, MRI, electromyography, and injection tests.Treatment of piriformis syndrome depends upon the chronicity of the disease and may include physical therapy, exercise, stretching, and medical treatments such as injection therapy, NSAIDs, opiates, and infrequently surgery.Doctors and other health professionals who may treat piriformis syndrome include orthopedists, osteopathic physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, sports medicine doctors, and less frequently, surgeons and/or OB/GYN doctors.There are several types of home remedies (exercises, cold packs, stretching, for example) that can be used to help reduce the symptoms of piriformis syndrome and help muscles to heal.Treatment of acute piriformis syndrome usually has a good prognosis; the prognosis declines as the disease becomes chronic.It is possible to prevent piriformis syndrome with appropriate use of the musculature and avoiding trauma to the low back/buttock area; recurrences may be prevented by following an individually designed rehabilitation program. Next: What is piriformis syndrome?