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Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis Syndrome



Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed by the piriformis muscle.  It is a neuromuscular disorder which is relatively uncommon.

It is usually characterised by pain, numbness or tingling in the buttocks region. There may be a dull ache or tenderness too. In some cases the pain can be extreme and refer down the length of the sciatic nerve and into the leg (also known as sciatica).  Pain can be triggered when climbing the stairs, lifting heavy objects, sitting for long periods of time or even running.

There is no single test for this condition.  It is often the case that there has been a history of trauma, perhaps from vigorous and repetitive activities such a long distance running.  In order to diagnose piriformis syndrome, a physical exam would be necessary alongside the patient's description of the symptoms.  In some cases it may be necessary to get an MRI to rule out other conditions such as a herniated disc.


Treating Piriformis Syndrome and Sciatic Pain


Treating the Trigger Points in the Piriformis with Dry Needling - Paul Townley



It is usually recommended to avoid the positions or movements that cause or trigger the pain.  It is important to use the correct equipment when doing physical activities or sports. Symptoms can be relieved with the help of rest, ice and heat alongside exercise and stretches to relieve the compression on the sciatic nerve. It is also important to make sure your posture is correct and you sit upright and not slumped.

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Scraping, a manual, ancient practice where pain points are worked with a gua sha (smooth-edged tool), reportedly increases blood flow by up to 400 per cent more than foam rolling and massage guns. By breaking up old, damaged blood vessels to promote new growth and healing, these tools are useful for getting into the nooks and crannies of a pain point, especially in delicate areas like along the shin muscles and under the foot.

Tim Tian has taken the scraper idea and supercharged it, creating a manual, triangular tool that blends heat and vibration therapy. “Cold blades stiffen muscles, blocking a deep release,” he says.

The heated scraper device takes just three seconds to reach 50ºC. This helps muscles soften, making it easier to massage away tension, increase blood flow and promote healing. The scraper is specially great for alleviating delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) in the quads, and provides a relaxing switch-up from the foam roller slog.