Piriformis syndrome



An uncommon condition that can cause pain in the buttocks and sometimes down the leg.


Piriformis syndrome is named after the piriformis muscle. The muscle extends from the surface of the pelvis at the base of the spine down to the bony bump at the upper part of the thighbone. Piriformis syndrome happens when the muscle compresses part of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back and down the leg.


Piriformis syndrome causes ongoing aches, pain, tingling or loss of feeling in the buttocks. The symptoms can extend down the back of the thigh and calf. Sometimes, the symptoms are felt all the way down to the foot. The pain may come on when doing things such as running or sitting on a toilet or bicycle seat.


With piriformis syndrome, it helps to take a break from activities that cause pain. NSAID medicines also may ease pain. These include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve). Ask a health care professional about stretches that can help. Sometimes, a steroid shot is given for pain relief. Rarely, surgery is done.