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Chiropractic Care for Piriformis Syndrome

Published Date: 
December 20, 2023
Categories:
Piriformis syndrome pain.

Piriformis syndrome is a common health condition. It causes pain and affects a person’s mobility. Chiropractic care is a safe, all-natural option for treating piriformis pain and preventing the problem from developing into a chronic condition.

The Function of the Piriformis Muscle

Your piriformis muscle is a flat, narrow muscle that runs from your lower spine down through your glute muscles to the tops of your thighs. It extends on the right and left sides of your body and is affected by just about every movement you perform. This means if it’s injured, it can trigger pain no matter what you do.

Closely related to the piriformis muscle is the sciatic nerve. The nerve runs under the muscle from the spinal cord, through the buttocks, and all the way down the legs to the feet. It’s your body’s longest muscle. Because they are so closely located in the body, many people confuse sciatic pain with piriformis muscle pain and vice versa.

Piriformis Syndrome & Its Symptoms 

Problems with the piriformis muscle are called piriformis syndrome. It occurs when the muscle compresses the sciatic nerve. This causes inflammation and pain, numbness, or a combination of the two. It can occur on one or both sides of the body.

Sciatic nerve pain and piriformis syndrome are similar and linked, but they are different. Sciatic is caused by spinal stenosis or a herniated disc. Most people experience pain in the lower back that radiates down the leg when they have sciatic pain. Piriformis syndrome, on the other hand, is caused by the muscle pressing on the nerve. Both conditions feel similar, but sciatic is a more specific problem. 

Man driving a car, experiencing Piriformis pain.

Piriformis syndrome symptoms include any of the following sensations in the buttocks, hips, or upper legs: 

Symptoms tend to worsen after sitting for long periods, climbing stairs, or walking or running.

How Chiropractic Care Can Help Ease Pain & Promote Healing Naturally

Chiropractic care is one of the most effective ways to ease pain naturally. It supports the body’s natural healing ability and allows a full recovery without medication or surgery.

Chiropractic care: 

  • Improves posture
  • Minimizes pain
  • Improves range of motion
  • Reduces chronic symptoms
  • Removes subluxations
  • Restores nervous system function
  • Provides immediate pain relief
  • Encourages the body’s natural healing tendencies

Chiropractic Adjustments

Chiropractic adjustments are the primary tool chiropractors use during treatment. Chiropractic treatment helps when you are suffering from piriformis syndrome by:

Man getting off of the couch, experiencing piriformis syndrome pain.
  • Reliving pressure
  • Realigning the body
  • Stretching the piriformis muscle and muscles in the area
  • Improve nervous system function
  • Provide postural assessment and correction

Massage Therapy

In addition to professional massage, you can also use massage at home to treat piriformis syndrome. For example:

  • Utilize a foam roller or tennis ball to massage the muscle and surrounding areas
  • Stretch the muscle
  • Massage the muscles in the area that are tight from working to compensate for piriformis pain

Physical Therapy Exercises

There are several physical therapy exercises that help with piriformis syndrome, including:

  • Knee-to-shoulder piriformis stretch
  • Ankle-over-knee piriformis stretch
  • Bridge
  • Side leg lifts
  • Clamshell
  • Facedown leg raises
  • Standing small range squat

How Long Does It Take to Recover From Piriformis Syndrome?

Piriformis pain usually eases within a few weeks. Mild pain might resolve within just a few days. If there is a great deal of inflammation, swelling, or irritation, it can take several days or weeks to ease up, even with treatment. The condition can also develop into a chronic problem if not treated properly.

Even after acute pain eases, it’s a good idea to perform maintenance exercises to prevent the issue from returning.

At Home Care for Piriformis Syndrome

There are several things you can do at home in addition to working with your chiropractor. For example:

Woman doing pilates leg stretches.
  • Avoid activities that cause pain, such as cycling or strenuous high-resistance exercises.
  • Maintain good posture.
  • Stand up, walk, and stretch often.
  • Ice & heat

Conclusion

Piriformis syndrome isn’t a severe condition, but the pain can interfere with your daily life. For some people, the condition is so uncomfortable it’s debilitating. Chiropractic care not only helps ease the acute pain of piriformis syndrome but also prevents the condition from returning.

Dr. Darren Faherty D.C.

In 2004, Dr. Darren Faherty graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from UWEC - University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Dr. Darren continued education at the highly esteemed University of Western States (formerly Western States Chiropractic College) where he obtained his chiropractic degree in 2007. He has been helping people recover from injuries and return to their normal lifestyles ever since.

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