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Compression of the sciatic nerve in piriformis syndrome causes pain in the buttocks and along the nerve, often down to the leg. Typical treatment options for this condition include a program of stretching exercises and massage; anti-inflammatory drugs; and either stopping or modifying running, bicycling, or similar activities. In most cases, the prognosis for individuals with this condition is good.

What Is Piriformis Syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome is a rare neuromuscular disorder that occurs when the piriformis muscle compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body. The piriformis muscle is a narrow muscle that is located in the buttocks.
 

What Are the Symptoms?

Compression of the sciatic nerve in piriformis syndrome often causes pain -- frequently described as tingling or numbness -- in the buttocks and along the nerve, often down to the leg. The pain may worsen as a result of sitting for a long period of time, climbing stairs, walking, or running.
 

Treatment for Piriformis Syndrome

Generally, treatment for piriformis syndrome may include:
 
  • Stretching exercises and massage
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Stopping or minimizing running, bicycling, or similar activities
  • A corticosteroid injection near where the piriformis muscle and the sciatic nerve meet
  • Surgery.
 

Prognosis for People With Piriformis Syndrome

In most cases, the prognosis for individuals with piriformis syndrome is good. Once symptoms are addressed, individuals can usually resume their normal activities. In some cases, exercise regimens may need to be modified in order to reduce the likelihood of recurrence or making the condition worse.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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