Sciatic, Bottom & Piriformis Pain
What are Sciatic and Piriformis Pain?
Sciatica refers to pain that travels along the path of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve travels from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg. Sciatica most often occurs when a herniated disk or an overgrowth of bone puts pressure on part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.
The piriformis muscle is located deep in the buttock, in close proximity to the sciatic nerve. When the piriformis muscle spasms or becomes tight and/or inflamed, it can cause irritation of the sciatic nerve. This irritation leads to sciatica-like pain, tingling, and numbness that run from the buttock and down the leg and sometimes into the foot.
All about Sciatic, Bottom & Piriformis Pain
Causes of Sciatic Pain and Piriformis Pain
Sciatica can happen because of any condition that affects the sciatic nerve but most commonly this is herniated or degenerative discs.
Sometimes certain spine conditions can cause irritation of the sciatic nerve such as osteoporosis, scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis.
Symptoms of Sciatic, Bottom & Piriformis Pain
The symptoms of sciatica and piriformis syndrome are very similar and often feel worse while sitting, trying to stand up, standing for a long time, bending the spine forward, twisting the spine,and/or while coughing.
Usually, sciatica affects only one leg at a time and the symptoms radiatefrom the lower back or buttock to the thigh and down the leg. Sciatica may cause pain in thefront, back, and/or sides of the thigh and leg.
A few common symptoms seen in sciatica are:
- Sciatica pain can be constant or intermittent and usually described as a burning sensation or a sharp, shooting pain. The pain is often more severe in the leg compared to the back.
- Altered sensation. Numbness, tingling, and/or a pins-and-needles sensation may be felt at the back of the leg.
- Weakness may be felt in the leg and foot. A feeling of heaviness in the affected leg may make it difficult to lift the foot off the floor.
How Do I Know When My Sciatica Is Improving?
A common mistake for people is using their pain as an indicator of recovery. Unfortunately, as sciatica improves, and the pain moves up your body, it can become more intense, especially when it’s around your buttocks and lower back.
So if you were experiencing pain in your calves yesterday, and it’s now ending in the back of your upper leg, this is a sign that your sciatica is improving!
Sciatic and Piriformis Pain Relief
Medication: seek appropriate pain relief to reduce discomfort and allow for more mobility exercises.
HEAT or ICE placed over the lower back pain region for twenty minutes a few times a day can ease stiffness, tension and soreness and help to relax the muscles increasing ability to stretch and mobilise the spine.
Excercises for Sciatic Pain and Piriformis Pain
A number of stretching exercises for the back and piriformis, hamstring, and hip extensor muscles may be used to decrease the painful symptoms along the sciatic nerve and improve range of motion in the hips.
Do watch the PBG information class on Sciatic pain and piriformis syndrome then try the QuickFix exercise class to learn how to safely mobilise, stretch and stabilise your lower back.
Free Class: Quick Fix for Sciatic, Bottom & Piriformis Pain
Too much sitting causes the muscles of the lower back to become tight, And over time, weaker muscles lead more sciatica pain later on.
Set a timer on your computer or phone to remind you every 60 minutes, anything that gets you moving can make a big difference. Gentle walking can help stop sciatica pain because regular walking produces the release of endorphins (a natural pain-fighting hormone) and reduces inflammation.
Contact your healthcare provider immediately if:
- You have a sudden change in bladder and bowel control
- You feel loss of sensation in the saddle region
- You experience pain, tingling, weakness or numbness in both legs
- You experience constant, severe and progressive pain that is not responding to treatment
- You've lost weight without trying to.