Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle in the buttock irritates the sciatic nerve, the long nerve that originates in the spine and runs down the back of the leg. The results is pain in the buttocks, lower back and down the back of the thigh. The culprit, the piriformis muscle, is a small muscle located deep in the buttocks that helps rotate the hip. This muscle runs horizontally beneath the gluteal muscles of the buttocks, stretching from the lower spine to the femur, or thigh bone. The sciatic nerve runs vertically and usually passes beneath the piriformis muscle. In about 15% of people, the sciatic nerve goes directly through the muscle, which makes these individuals particularly prone to piriformis syndrome.
Treatment for piriformis syndrome begins with stretching exercises, as well as deep massage, hip motion exercises and perhaps ultrasound.
Knowing what ails you is the first step to fixing the problem and preventing it from happening again. When pain flares up, a physical therapist can help you uncover the source and avoid whatever is triggering it.