Piriformis syndrome or sciatica—Which condition are you suffering with?

piriformis syndrome
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I talked about my bunion and how I am managing it in my previous blog.  In this blog I will talk about another excruciating pain that runs from my right butt to the leg below. The kind of suffering I simply cannot put into words.

I had believed my entire life that I had sciatica pain and a compression in my spine (doctors made me believe so). An irritation, inflammation, pinching, or compression of a nerve in the lower back results in sciatica pain. A herniated or slipped disc that puts pressure on the nerve root is the most frequent cause of this condition. Despite experiencing a similar sting, irritating pain, it came from my right hip rather than my lower back. I frequently question why I do not experience any back pain if I have sciatica.

My right side has been in severe discomfort for almost ten years, but a seasoned physio recently told me that my spine is absolutely fine.  And I  have a piriformis muscle issue and not sciatica. And as I learned more about it, I realized that the piriformis syndrome was to blame for my persistent discomfort.

I am going to discuss how piriformis syndrome differs from sciatica in this blog.

If your sciatica just will not go away, you might have piriformis syndrome, which has been improperly treated. If you have piriformis syndrome, it could be difficult to get relief, especially if your butt pain is ongoing.

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Here are different underlying factors involved in Piriformis Syndrome

The symptoms of piriformis syndrome and sciatica might both affect your lower back, buttock, and/or leg, but they have different underlying causes.

Piriformis syndrome

It is a medical disorder that occurs when your piriformis muscle, located deep in your pelvis, irritates or compresses your sciatic nerve. Normally, this muscle is adjacent to the sciatic nerve. As the sciatic nerve descends into your thigh and leg, the symptoms of piriformis syndrome may start in your hip, buttock, and leg.

Piriformis syndrome can result from trauma to the hip or buttock, anatomic alterations in the piriformis muscle and/or sciatic nerve, or sitting for extended periods of time.

piriformis syndrome
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When a medical issue, such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis, irritates or compresses one or more spinal nerve roots in your lower spine, you may experience a series of symptoms called sciatica (and not the sciatic nerve itself). Later, these nerve roots would combine to form the sciatic nerve.

Herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis are a few conditions that can harm your lower spinal nerve roots and result in sciatica.

Sciatica and piriformis condition are frequently confused, which is the problem. The sciatic nerve is impacted by both conditions, but sciatica is brought on by spinal issues such a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. The sciatic nerve is compressed by the piriformis muscle, which is located deep within the buttock, which results in piriformis syndrome.

The ability of your doctor to discern between piriformis syndrome and genuine or discogenic sciatica depends on their knowledge of the sciatic nerve’s anatomy, physiology, and link to the piriformis muscle.

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Piriformis Symptoms

Acute buttock discomfort and pain that feels like sciatica radiating down the back of the thigh, calf, and foot are the most common symptoms reported by patients. Typical signs of piriformis syndrome may include the following:

  • A persistent buttock pain
  • The back of the thigh, calf, and foot hurt (sciatica)
  • Having difficulty climbing stairs or an incline
  • Increased discomfort following extended sitting
  • reduced hip joint range of motion
  • The sensations may feel better after lying down on the back. These symptoms frequently get worse after extended sitting, walking, or jogging

Piriformis syndrome’s root cause is what?

Piriformis syndrome may result from a variety of factors, including the piriformis pressing on the sciatic nerve.

The following factors frequently lead to piriformis syndrome:

  • Swelling or inflammation of the tissues surrounding the piriformis.
  • Spasms of the muscles
  • Muscular scarring

These problems may stem from:

  • Piriformis muscles that are not strong enough when walking, running, or climbing stairs might cause these problems.
  • A hip, buttock, or leg injury after a fall or automobile accident
  • Having tight muscles as a result of inactivity
  • Improper lifting that strains the piriformis muscle
  • Not properly stretching after exercise or warming up before it.
  • Excessive or repetitive exercise, such as long-distance running.
  • Spending a lot of time sitting (for example, people who sit a lot on the job).

However, sometimes, faulty anatomy causes piriformis syndrome. This condition is referred to as primary piriformis syndrome by doctors. For instance, a sciatic nerve that travels abnormally in a person’s body can be present from birth. Alternatively, a piriformis muscle or sciatic nerve may be inherited.

With piriformis pain, how should I care for myself?

You can manage your piriformis syndrome symptoms more effectively by making the following changes:

1.Prevent engaging in activities that cause piriformis pain. For instance, find another kind of exercise, at least for a few days, if the problem flares up when you ride a bike or trek.

2. Deep-tissue massage for the hips and buttocks.

3. Do not sit on the chair. Walk, stand, and stretch. This is crucial for those who spend their whole workday seated, like office workers and professional drivers.

4. As directed by your doctor, use a medication to reduce swelling.

5. Depending on what works for you, try using hot or cold packs. Swelling can be decreased by applying ice to the area for 15 minutes multiple times each day. A hot pad or other source of heat might help to relax a tense muscle.

6. Stretching is necessary for the piriformis muscles.

7. Don’t sit cross leg or bend forward as it further aggravates the pain.

8. Do not put your wallet in your back pocket anymore.

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Note: Any information on the website My blog adda is not proposed as a substitute for medical assistance. Always consult your doctor in case of any medical diagnosis or cure.

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