Many times a patient will present to the office here at Greenapple Sports & Wellness with a complaint of low back pain that has symptoms traveling down the back of their thigh to the knee. The patient will refer to the pain as “sciatica” and express concern that it could be a bulging disc. But, when I ask them to point to the source of the pain, the patient does not point to their low back at all. Instead, they will point to the middle of the glute. And when they sit, they say it feels like they are sitting on a tennis ball. Does this scenario sound familiar? You may not have a disc herniation at all; you may be suffering from piriformis syndrome.
The piriformis is a muscle in the glutes responsible for external rotation of the hip. The origin of the muscle is on the side of the sacrum (tailbone) and the insertion is on the greater trochanter on the side of the hip. The problem is that it lays right over the sciatic nerve. If the piriformis is overused or in spasm, it can put direct pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause the symptoms that radiate down the back of the thigh.
The good news is that the doctors at Greenapple Sports & Wellness can help. By treating the muscle directly with ART, Graston, laser, acupuncture or dry needling, as well as adjusting the sacrum and the hip, we can help restore function the area. This treatment can help reduce irritation to the piriformis and relieve pressure off of the sciatic nerve. With the addition of condition specific exercises and stretches, we can help you find relief and stay symptom free.
Douglas Bradberry, DC, CCSP
Greenapple Sports & Wellness