Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Piriformis Syndrome Overview

What is piriformis syndrome?
A person with piriformis syndrome has irritation and inflammation of the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle is located deep in the buttock, next to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve starts in the lower back and runs down the back of the leg. An inflamed, swollen piriformis muscle can place pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing it to become irritated and inflamed.

What are the symptoms of piriformis syndrome?
Symptoms of piriformis syndrome are similar to symptoms of sciatica. The most common symptom includes low back pain that spreads to the buttock and hip. Additional symptoms of piriformis syndrome include difficulty walking, foot numbness, foot weakness, leg numbness, leg pain, and leg weakness.

How does the doctor treat piriformis syndrome?
Treatment for piriformis syndrome may include rest, cold compresses, warm compresses, avoiding lifting, back stretching exercises, physical therapy, corticosteroids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain.

Continue to Piriformis Syndrome Risk Factors

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Piriformis Syndrome References
  1. Benzon HT, Katz JA, Benzon HA, Iqbal MS. Piriformis syndrome: anatomic considerations, a new injection technique, and a review of the literature. Anesthesiology. 2003 Jun;98(6):1442-8. [12766656]
  2. Fishman LM, Anderson C, Rosner B. BOTOX and physical therapy in the treatment of piriformis syndrome. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2002 Dec;81(12):936-42. [12447093]
  3. Lang AM. Botulinum toxin type B in piriformis syndrome. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2004 Mar;83(3):198-202. [15043354]
  4. Papadopoulos EC, Khan SN. Piriformis syndrome and low back pain: a new classification and review of the literature. Orthop Clin North Am. 2004 Jan;35(1):65-71. [15062719]
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