Piriformis Syndrome – Stretches (Exercises), Treatment, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis

Piriformis Syndrome is a rare neuromuscular disorder that troubles the movement of the lower portion of the body. The Syndrome arises when the Poriformis Muscle compresses the sciatic nerve at the top of the hip joint. The muscle is located near the buttocks and is responsible for the movement and stabilization of the hip joint. It also help the legs to move and shifts the balance from one leg to another during the motion. The muscle is in short the prime reason for walking and lifting weight which needs the balance of thighs. The sciatic nerve goes through the muscle to the legs and feet. When a nerve gets compressed, Piriformis Syndrome becomes unmovable.

The disorder is one of the threatening one which causes immense pain. The syndrome also gives trouble while walking and balancing of the body. It is a very crucial muscle of the body and on the compression of the sciatic nerve, it becomes virtually inactive.

piriformis syndrome anatomy

Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome

The early sign and the symptoms of the Piriformis Syndrome are the pain on the hip joint. The pain might become very severe, and it often goes down through the leg. The pain starts when firm pressure is applied on the muscle. The most common examples of such situation are sitting in the car or sitting at a place for a long time. The pain might start appearing while climbing stairs as well. However, the pain majorly appears because of Sciatica, but all Sciatica pains are not the symptoms of the Piriformis Syndrome. The spasms of the Piriformis muscle generally disturb the sciatic nerve and cause a severe pain. It can also create numbness and tingling along the back. The most common symptoms or the signs of the disease are the following.

  • There will always be a dull ache or pain in the hip or buttock.
  • Severe pain can be felt on the buttock, hip, legs and even on the calf. The pain can be moderate to severe depending upon the compression of the sciatic nerve and the cause of the disorder.
  • Severe pain on the waist, back, legs and hips can be felt while walking on any inclined platform. Sharper will be the inclination, and severe will be a pain for Piriformis Syndrome.
  • The ability to walk, motion and any kind of movements of hips, legs and the lower portion would be very difficult and painful. Sometimes people suffering from the Piriformis Syndrome even fails to walk.

piriformis syndrome image

Causes of Piriformis syndrome

The exact causes of the Piriformis Syndrome are still unknown. However, medical experts have found out the most possible reasons of this order after thorough research and studies. The major reason of the disorder is the spasms of the Piriformis Muscle. However, the spasms can be because of any probable reasons such as external injury or internal bleeding. The swelling of the muscle might cause the same problem. The injury to the Piriformis Syndrome can disturb the sciatic nerve, and it can in turn cause huge pain. Sometimes the Piriformis muscle gets tightened, and that makes Piriformis Syndrome in turn. The tightening of the muscle can occur due to injury either external or internal. Bleeding near the muscle or hip joint and other internal injuries can also be a probable cause of this syndrome.

The symptoms become more prominent and chronic with the passage of time and criticality of the issue.


There is no particular formula for determining or diagnosing Piriformis Syndrome. However, medical experts follow some particular steps and procedures to diagnosis the disorder. The most probable thing that put problem on the diagnosis of the disorder is the possibility of other disorders which are having similar symptoms. However, X-RAY Ray, MRI and other techniques can confirm that other possibilities like Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction, Lumbar Disc Herniation and others are not responsible for the pain. Once it is not confirmed that other disorders are not responsible for the pain, it can be assumed that Piriformis Syndrome might have caused the pain. However, the technique does not confirm the Piriformis Syndrome.

Medical reports and history play a vital role in determining the disorder. It is very obvious that doctors go through the reports of the type of pain and the cause of the pain as well. For example, if the pain starts right after any injury then the possibility of the Piriformis Syndrome increases by considerable amount.

The physical movements of hips, legs can also point towards the Piriformis Syndrome. The pain in the lower back and severe pain while moving might indicate the diagnosis of the Piriformis Syndrome.

Treatment of Piriformis syndrome

There is no such direct medication available for the Piriformis Syndrome. The only way to get relief from the Piriformis Syndrome is to undergo Physical stretches and exercises. However, help of medication can be taken to reduce the pain and inflammation which can further help the patient to undergo physical activity.

Anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or naproxen can help the patient to get some temporary relief. Apart from it, Piriformis injections and Botox injections might also be given for the same purpose. Even electrotherapy on the hip joint can be sometimes helpful for the patient for the severe pain. However, the most common procedure of treatment of Piriformis Syndrome is the heat and ice therapy. The heat treatment gives relief from the pain.

Stretches or Exercises for Piriformis syndrome

There are two Stretches that are really helpful for the disorder. The procedures to do the stretches are following.

  • Lie on the Back
  • Keep the Feet flat
  • Bend your knees
  • Pull the right knee to the chest
  • Pull the knee towards the left shoulder and hold it there.
  • Repeat the same with left leg and right shoulder.


Another helpful stretch is following.

  • Lie on the Back
  • Keep the Feet flat
  • Bend your knees
  • Place the right ankle to the knee of left leg
  • Pull the left thigh towards the chest and hold
  • Repeat the same with left ankle and right leg.

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