A muscle in the vicinity of the sciatic nerve is sometimes the true source of radiating pain often assumed to be sciatica, a condition primarily affected by irritation of the sciatic nerve. If contractions or spasms of the piriformis muscle affect the sciatic nerve, it may be due to an often-overlooked condition called piriformis syndrome (PS). Board-certified spine surgeons in Beverly Hills discuss the ways sciatica and piriformis syndrome are connected.
Located in the buttock area, the piriformis muscle comes into contact with the sciatic nerve as it extends from the lower back toward the legs. At one point, the sciatic nerve is sandwiched between the pelvis and the piriformis muscle. If this muscle is affected by injury, it can irritate the sciatic nerve and cause:
Even though PS only accounts for a small percentage of reported instances of sciatic nerve pain, the piriformis muscle may be affected by some type of trauma. Initial pain can be felt in the lower back, buttocks, or hips and radiate downward. Muscle irritation may result from:
Diagnosis is often a trial and error process that includes image tests to rule out sources within the lower back before considering adjacent areas. Once it’s determined the piriformis muscle is the true source of nerve irritation, treatment usually includes:
When seeking a diagnosis for radiating leg pain, remain open to the possibility of a source of pain other than a herniated disc or other problem in the lower back. PS pain is usually successfully managed through non-surgical back treatment options. In rare instances, the piriformis muscle may be cut to provide relief.
When considering spinal treatment or spine surgery, Beverly Hills to alleviate your pain, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Hyun Bae and his team at The Spine Institute. We specialize in fusion and non-fusion procedures and can diagnose the cause of your pain and determine an effective solution. Give us a call today at 310-828-7757 to learn more.