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Suffering from Piriformis Syndrome?

Cynthia Luo, RMT  - Registered Massage Therapist

Piriformis Syndrome is a neuromuscular condition. It is the compression of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle in the buttock and hip area, causing pain with possible tingling or numbness sensations.

Signs & Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome

The condition presents itself more for women than men, the ratio is 6:1, and is more common between the ages of 40 to 50 years old. It could exist intermittently or present chronically.

  • The most common symptom: Pain in the buttock or hip area; tenderness can be felt with applied pressure

  • Lower back pain can be caused by piriformis syndrome

  • Possible pain with numbness or tingling at the buttock which could radiate/shoot down to the back of the thigh, lower leg and even the foot along the sciatic nerve

  • The onset can be sudden with trauma or gradually onset over several months

  • Mostly it occurs on one side, but it is possible on both sides of the buttocks or lower limbs

  • Sitting or walking for a long time can trigger or worsen the condition

  • It could affect regular activities like walking, sitting and sleeping when it gets serious

The Cause of Piriformis Syndrome

  • The tension or tightness of the piriformis muscle

  • Trigger points in the piriformis muscle

  • Spasm in the piriformis muscle or surrounding structure like hip or sacroiliac joint

  • Direct trauma, swelling and inflammation in the piriformis muscle, like falling down on the buttock or a motor vehicle accident

  • Pregnancy with increased body weight

  • Sitting or driving for a long time or over active life/work style such as walking, running, cycling, repeated bending & lifting, etc. for long periods of time

The Ways to Prevent/Release Piriformis Syndrome

Therapeutic Massage has been proven to be an effective way in releasing the condition.

  • It provides great benefit by relaxing the tense soft tissue areas, using a variety of massage techniques

  • By manipulating the soft tissues, it is very efficient in reducing pain, muscle spasm, discomfort and stress

  • It helps to detox the muscles by improving blood and oxygen circulation

Recommendation: one session or many treatments may be required depending on how serious the condition is, the length of the condition, different life/work styles, different responses to the massage treatment by individuals, etc.

What Can Patients do to Prevent or Release the Condition?

  • Stop or have breaks during prolonged sitting or driving

  • Stop, reduce or modify the activities that can cause or trigger the condition, such as hiking, walking, running, cycling, squatting, etc. for a long period of time

  • Stretching the piriformis and buttocks muscles

  • Wear loose pants

  • Avoid placing your cell phone or wallet in the back pocket of your pants

  • Visit your favourite Registered Massage Therapist!

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