(Health Secrets) Piriformis Syndrome is one of four conditions that can cause sciatica pain, a pain that is felt all the way down the leg. Research suggests that approximately 80 percent of Americans suffer from low back pain at some point in time, and up to 80 percent of low back pain is muscle related. Of those with , one in seven are susceptible to Piriformis Syndrome. The sciatic nerve passes through the piriformis muscle, rather than underneath it, in 15 to 30 percent of the population, which leads to a greater incidence of nerve entrapment, compression and sciatic nerve irritation leading to Piriformis Syndrome.
An accurate diagnosis for sciatic pain is essential to identify serious spine issues that may require chiropractic treatment, or to establish that the problem lies in the soft tissue. Soft tissue conditions can be treated chiropractic, or by massage, exercise, stress management techniques, or Prolotherapy. Regular stretching is the best method for improving flexibility and reducing pain.
Eliminating low back and sciatic pain is a multi-step process. The successful treatment and complete healing is seldom found on the first attempt. A hopeful, step by step, attitude is absolutely essential! Don’t give up — become knowledgeable!
Piriformis Syndrome, which creates sciatic pain, is a condition caused by a taut or shortened piriformis muscle, or a piriformis spasm. The piriformis muscle is located at the right and left top of the buttocks next to each hipbone. It is a lateral rotator buried deep in the gluteus muscles that helps the foot and leg turn outward. A hip out of alignment can impinge upon or compress the sciatic nerve causing chronic pain.
Piriformis Syndrome and sciatica have many of the same symptoms, making it difficult to distinguish. The more knowledgeable you become, the more you will be able to aid in your diagnosis and treatment.
Identifying Piriformis Syndrome
· Notice when the pain initiates. If the pain usually starts after climbing stairs or some sort of lower-body exercise, this could be Piriformis Syndrome.
· Difficulty sitting for long stretches of time? Do you need to take frequent breaks from your desk job because of numbness down through part of the leg, tingling or pain?
· Apply pressure to the piriformis muscle (located in the upper part of your buttocks, right next to your hip bone). If this induces pain and the problems you get from sitting too long or walking up stairs, this could be Piriformis Syndrome.
· Visit your practioner and discuss all of your symptoms. He or she may order tests to rule out sciatica from disc degeneration or herniation. Remember, Piriformis Syndrome may exist along with sciatica and complicate making a complete diagnosis.
· Piriformis Syndrome can develop and cause sciatic nerve pain on one or both sides. Sitting may be difficult and there may be a feeling of a large painful knot in the buttocks.
Life style causes of Piriformis Syndrome
· Muscle imbalance and weakness from sitting all day.
· Strenuous, overuse injury results from activities of the legs: Rowing, Sculling, Bicycling, and Running.
· Runners who over-pronate,
· Bicyclists and other athletes engaging in forward-moving activities are particularly susceptible to Piriformis Syndrome
· Abnormal position of the pelvis resulting from repetitious movements such as getting in and out of a car, standing and weight shifting on to one foot while waiting in line or holding a baby on your hips, weak core muscles, and muscle imbalances that lead to postural dysfunctions.
Informal test to check for Piriformis Syndrome
Lie down on the floor on your back, and relax your legs to see which way your feet rotate, or look down at your feet as you sit. If toes rotate outward this means the Piriformis muscle is tight. If possible, start appropriate stretching exercises to help minimize or prevent Piriformis Syndrome.
Life style changes to relive pain
· Try to avoid positions that trigger pain.
· Rest, ice, and heat may help relieve symptoms.
· When participating in sports or movement such as running or lunging, prevention is often related to good form.
· Avoid running or exercising on hills or uneven surfaces.
· Warm up properly before activity and increase intensity gradually.
· Use good posture while running, walking, or exercising.
· If pain occurs, stop the activity and rest until pain subsides.
· Try physical therapy, or massage therapy that addresses trigger points
· Consider a chiropractor versed in the Sacro-Occipital Technique (SOT)
Here is a great exercise for the piriformis muscle, called Step Out, Toe Out
1.) Stand facing a wall—about 4 inches from the wall
2.) Be sure your feet are shoulder width apart and your weight is evenly balanced on your feet
3.) Work with one side then the other
4.) Step your right foot one step to the right
5.) Point right foot straight to the right
6.) Place hands on wall, shoulder high
7.) Stay balanced, keep back straight, and learn forward to wall, count to 15
8.) Push yourself back upright
9.) Repeat the process for your other side.
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