What do Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome feel like?
Symptoms of Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome include pain, burning, numbness and weakness in areas including (but not limited to) the lower back, buttocks, down the back of the leg and possibly even down to the toes.
How can we tell if the pain is Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome?
Sciatica is a condition presenting as pain radiating along the path of the Sciatic Nerve which is made up of nerve roots coming from the lower back and running through the hips and sacrum and down the back of each leg.
Many San Diego residents experience some form of pain as described above but don’t know what the real cause is. There are two conditions often confused with each other: Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome. While these two conditions have similar symptoms, they have separate causes! Sciatica occurs when the Sciatic Nerve is compressed while exiting the spinal column. Piriformis Syndrome is caused from the Piriformis Muscle pressing on the Sciatic Nerve deep in the buttocks.
Why do we get Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome?
The Sciatic Nerve is the largest nerve in the body, in some areas as large as your thumb; therefore, it is more susceptible to compression than other nerves. Compression can occur because of misaligned joints in the lumbar spine or pelvis (where the nerve originates), a bulging or herniated disc in the lumbar spine at the L4-L5 level in the low back, or a tight Piriformis Muscle directly pressing on the nerve.
How does chiropractic help individuals recover from Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome?
Your local San Diego chiropractor will analyze the alignment of your lumbar spine and pelvis. If there is a misalignment in either, it will be gently moved back into place using a specific chiropractic adjustment. Your chiropractor will also be able to treat any bulging discs and assess whether you have any thigh muscles contributing to the pain.
How do individuals recover from Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome?
The first step to recovery is to be evaluated and if needed, adjusted by a chiropractor. After that, focus on stretching out the tight muscles associated with the issue. We recommend stretching the involved areas twice a day for two weeks. If at that point the muscles are relaxing and staying that way, we can consider decreasing the frequency.
What stretches and strengthening exercises can be one to alleviate Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome?
Stretch the Piriformis Muscle and Glutes. Videos are forthcoming. Make sure to work both sides, but focus more on the side that is affected.