Franklin Chiropractor | piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis Syndrome. Piriformis syndrome results from compression of the sciatic nerve as it passes underneath a muscle in your buttock called the piriformis. Your piriformis muscle attaches from the lowest part of your spine (sacrum) and travels across to your hip. The muscle helps to rotate your leg outward when it contracts. In most people, the sciatic nerve travels deep to the piriformis muscle. When your piriformis muscle is irritated or goes into spasm, it may cause a painful compression of your sciatic nerve. Approximately ¼ of the population is more likely to suffer from piriformis syndrome because their sciatic nerve passes through the muscle. Piriformis syndrome may begin suddenly as a result of an injury or may develop slowly from repeated irritation. Common causes include: a fall onto the buttocks, catching oneself from a “near fall,” strains, long distance walking, stair climbing or sitting on the edge of a hard surface or wallet. In many cases, a specific triggering event cannot be pinpointed. The condition is most common in 40-60 year olds and affects women more often than men. Symptoms of piriformis syndrome include pain, numbness or tingling that begins in your buttock and radiates along the course of your sciatic nerve toward your foot. Symptoms often increase when you are sitting or standing in one position for longer than 15-20 minutes. Changing positions may help. You may notice that your symptoms increase when you walk, run, climb stairs, ride in a car, sit cross-legged or get up from a chair. Sciatic arising from piriformis syndrome is one of the most treatable varieties and generally is relieved by the type of treatment provided in this office. You may need to temporarily limit activities that aggravate the piriformis muscle, including hill and stair climbing, walking on uneven surfaces, intense downhill running or twisting and throwing objects backwards, i.e., firewood. Be sure to avoid sitting on one foot and take frequent breaks from prolonged standing, sitting and car rides. You may find relief by applying an ice pack to your buttock for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times throughout the day..
Our Treatment Here is a brief description of the treatments we may use to help manage your problem. Therapy Modalities -We may apply electrotherapy modalities that produce light electrical pulses transmitted through electrodes placed over your specific sites of concern. These comfortable modalities work to decrease your pain, limit inflammation and ease muscle spasm. Hot or cold packs are often used in conjunction, to enhance the effect of these modalities. Another available option is therapeutic ultrasound. Ultrasound pushes sound vibrations into tissues. When these vibrations reach your deep tissues, heat develops and unwanted waste products are dispersed. Myofascial Release -Overworked muscles often become tight and develop knots or“trigger points”. Chronic tightness produces inflammation and swelling that ultimately leads to the formation of “adhesions” between tissues. Your franklin chiropractor will apply pressure with their hands, or with specialized tools, in order to release muscle tightness and soft-tissue adhesions. This will help to improve your circulation, relieve pain and restore flexibility. Therapeutic Exercise -Muscle tightness or weakness causes discomfort and alters normal joint function, leading to additional problems. Your franklin chiropractor will target tight or weak muscles with specific therapeutic stretching and strengthening to help increase tissue flexibility, build strength, and ease pain. Healthy, strong, and flexible muscles may help prevent re-injury. Foot Evaluation -Fallen arches and faulty foot mechanics are common problems that can perpetuate your condition. Your franklin chiropractor will carefully evaluate your feet and consider the need for a change in shoe style, arch supports or even custom orthotics. Some Things That You Can DoTo Help YourselfStanding – To avoid extra stress on your spine while standing: Avoid high-heeled shoes or boots Use a footrest If excessive standing can’t be avoided, consider shock absorbent shoes or an anti-fatigue mat. Footwear -Improperly supported feet can affect the alignment of all of the structures above. To improve your overall comfort: Choose shoes with good arch support. Avoid going barefoot or wearing shoes that lack support (i.e. flip-flops). The following brands of sandals provide better than average arch support: Naot, Fit Flops, Orthoheels, Abeo, Vionic and Yellow box. Avoid high-heeled shoes or boots (keep heels to a maximum of 1½ inches, especially if you are going to be doing a lot of walking). “Cross-trainer” athletic shoes tend to provide the best all around support and shock
absorption for daily activities. Patients with fallen arches should consider adding arch supports or orthotics. Repair or replace shoes with worn soles or heels. Your Franklin Chiropractor can also fit you with Custom Orthotics which is a great option Home Exercises You Can Do 1.Supine Piriformis Stretch -Lie flat on your back with your affected knee bent and your ankle touching the outside of your opposite leg. Grasp your knee and pull your thigh across your chest toward your opposite shoulder. If you are unable to comfortably reach your knee, grasp a thin towel wrapped around your knee. Against the resistance of your hand, contract your affected hip in an attempt to push your knee outward for seven seconds. Relax and pull your knee further across your body towards your shoulder to increase the stretch. “Lock in” to this new position and perform three contract/relax cycles on each side twice per day or as directed. 1.Quadruped Piriformis Stretch -Start on all fours. Place your affected leg beneath your body as shown. Straighten your opposite leg and reach back with that foot, lowering your hips toward the ground until you feel astretch. Against the resistance of the floor, attempt to push the ankle of your affected leg into the floor for seven seconds. Relax and increase the stretch by reaching further back with your opposite foot while leaning further forward with your upper body. “Lock in” to each new position, and do not allow any slack. Perform three contract/relax cycles on each side twice per day or as directed.