Piriformis Syndrome

Several people think they have a lumbar spine problem or nerve problem on their leg. Maybe not. Sometimes the problem is lower down and deeper but the symptoms are very similar to these.

Symptoms of piriformis syndrome include tenderness and pain in the buttock area, accompanied by sciatica – like pain, numbness and weakness that runs down the back of the thigh, calf, and foot.

Pain from piriformis syndrome is often worse when walking up stairs, after sitting or while walking or running.

What is that muscle and where is it?

The piriformis is a small muscle located deep in the buttock, behind the gluteus maximus. It runs diagonally from the lower spine to the upper surface of the femur, with the sciatic nerve running underneath or through the muscle.

The piriformis muscle helps the hip rotate, turning the leg and foot outward. As a result of overuse, injury, or strain, the piriformis muscle can tighten, swell, or spasm. Sports that involve repetitive forward movement of the legs, or problems in surrounding joints like the sacroiliac joints are typical causes of piriformis syndrome.

The location of the piriformis muscle near the sciatic nerve means that when the piriformis muscle is irritated or injured, it can affect the sciatic nerve as well. That is when people have the same symptoms as with the lumbar spine problem.

In the attached picture you can see how deep both this muscle and the nerve are in the body. As opposed to massage, laser beams can get deep down into the tissues and reach the sciatic nerve and the piriformis muscle and treat the inflammation.

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