Piriformis Syndrome- Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Piriformis Syndrome- Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

This Blog Talks About…

  • Piriformis syndrome is a chronic pain condition that occurs when the piriformis muscle, located near the buttocks, compresses or irritates the sciatic nerve.
  • Although the exact cause of piriformis syndrome is unknown, physicians have suspected a few factors.
  • The pain specialists at American Spine talk about the causes, symptoms and treatment options for piriformis syndrome.

The piriformis muscle is located behind the gluteus maximus, starting at the lower spine and connecting to the upper surface of each thigh bone. This muscle helps rotate the hip, leg and foot outward and it is located right above the sciatic nerve, which is why it can cause pain similar to sciatica.


As mentioned previously, the exact cause of piriformis syndrome is unknown. However, there are a few suspected causes, some of which include tightening, swelling or bleeding of the piriformis muscle due to injury, or a muscle spasm caused by either the muscle itself or an irritation within the sacroiliac joint or hip. Your American Spine physician can help you determine the suspected cause of your pain after running a few tests.


Symptoms of piriformis syndrome and sciatica are relatively similar because both areas may affect one another. With that, possible symptoms of piriformis syndrome usually include:

  • Acute tenderness and a dull ache in the buttock area
  • Pain that shoots down the back of the thighs, calves and feet
  • Pain that worsens when walking up stairs or prolonged sitting
  • Minimal range of motion of the hip joint


If the pain from piriformis syndrome is minimal, patients may find relief from conservative treatments like rest, ice or heat or anti-inflammatory nonsteroidal drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol or ibuprofen. To improve range of motion, physical therapy or a set of stretches and exercises may be recommended. Moderate to severe pain from piriformis syndrome may benefit from corticosteroid injections that provide longer lasting pain relief. Talk to the team at American Spine today to schedule your treatment for piriformis syndrome pain!

At American Spine, we are dedicated to treating chronic pain and spine conditions. Offering the latest in minimally invasive spine surgery and other effective treatment options, American Spine is the leading pain physician group of California. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (951)-734-PAIN (7246).

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.