Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome occurs when the piriformis muscle, which is a flat, band-shaped, stabilizing muscle located near the top of the hip joint in the buttocks, compresses the sciatic nerve, which is a large nerve that travels down the back of the leg. Piriformis is a neuromuscular disorder and is typically seen in patients with a history of trauma or prolonged, repetitive activity—sometimes vigorous like long-distance or sedentary like sitting. Characterized by pain, tingling, and numbness, piriformis syndrome can be similar symptom-wise to other conditions, which is why medical professionals may recommend radiologic tests to eliminate other sciatic nerve issues. Physical therapy can alleviate pain and help patients regain range of motion (ROM). Initial evaluation and diagnosis involve posture and alignment assessment, palpation of soft tissues, functional assessments, and gait analysis. During treatment, therapists may recommend ROM exercises and stretches for the piriformis, hamstrings, and hip extensors. They may also provide deep tissue massage, joint mobilization, postural training, ice and heat therapy, electrotherapy, footwear consultation, and injections. To prevent piriformis syndrome from occurring or reoccurring, it’s important to maintain proper posture when sitting, standing, lifting, and during fitness and to keep the musculoskeletal system strong and flexible