Radiculopathy

Get the details on radiculopathy.

Piriformis syndrome

Piriformis syndrome is a condition that can be associated with radiculopathy. It is a neuromuscular disorder in which the piriformis muscle in some way compresses or otherwise irritates the person's sciatic nerve.

Symptoms

When the sciatic nerve is bothered by the person's piriformis muscle, it can lead to a variety of symptoms. They tend to occur around the buttocks, as well as down the path of the sciatic nerve to the lower area of the thigh and the leg on the affected side. Pain is a major possibility when this situation happens. Numbness and tingling (known as paresthesia) can also occur. If the person walks while pointing out the foot on the side that is affected, there may be some relief of pain.

Causes

As mentioned, this is brought on due to disturbance of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle. This, in turn, can be caused by multiple issues. One possibility is that overuse of the muscle can lead to spasms, which may bother the nerve. In some people, rather than going underneath this muscle, the sciatic nerve goes through it. This seems to be the case in about 15 to 30 percent of people. Those who have it going this way, according to some studies, seem to have a higher rate of developing this condition.


Diagnosis

Diagnosis of this condition is made by someone who is a medical professional, such as a doctor. Symptoms may be taken into account, and a physical examination may also be used. There are also differential diagnoses which can be ruled out. CT scan, ultrasound, and MRI are some technologies that can be used in order to check for (and potentially exclude) some other possible issues.

Treatment

Once a diagnosis of piriformis syndrome has been made, then it may be possible to begin a treatment method. Often, muscle relaxants or NSAIDs can be used to provide relief for the symptoms that are being experienced by the patient. Physical therapy may be used in some cases. In some situations, it may be sufficient to do things such as avoiding activities that contribute to the symptoms, and beginning activities such as certain stretching exercises. In rare cases, surgery is performed. Please keep in mind that a physician should recommend the treatment course, so don't use the information here to attempt to select one.

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