Piriformis syndrome (PS) is a severe neuromuscular disorder characterized by buttock and hip discomfort, among other indications and symptoms. In various sources, PS is described as a peripheral nerve injury of the nerve root branches caused by a disorder of the piriformis muscle (PM), such as inflamed muscle. Piriformis syndrome is diagnosed more frequently in girls than in men, with a ratio of 6:1 (female to male). The wider quadriceps femoris muscle angle may explain this ratio in girls’ os coxae. Piriformis syndrome can result in a variety of forms:

Primary PS

A split piriformis muscle, a split sciatic nerve, or an irregular sciatic nerve are all anatomical causes of primary piriformis syndrome. Only approximately 15 percentage of human beings with piriformis syndrome have the first-rate reason. There are presently no agreed occurrence figures for the anomaly, and there may be minimum statistics to assist whether or not the aberration causes PS. 

Secondary PS

Secondary PS can be caused by various abnormalities such as macro trauma, microtrauma, mass ischemic effect, or local ischemia. 

  • PS can be because of muscle shortening due to adjustments in the lower limb, low back, and pelvic biomechanics. The sciatic nerve can be compressed or indignant due to this. When the piriformis muscle is dysfunctional, it can bring about pain in sciatic nerve distribution, which incorporates the gluteal area, posterior thigh, posterior leg, and lateral aspect of the foot.
  • Overuse of the piriformis muscle, including long distances on foot or running, or direct compression can cause microtrauma.


Symptoms of piriformis syndrome include low back pain, buttock soreness, numbness, paraesthesia, difficulty in walking, and pain while sitting, crouching, standing, bowel motions, and dyspareunia in women. PS sufferers have also been reported to experience leg swelling and sexual characteristic difficulties. The soreness may go away when you lie down, flex your knee, or walk.

Trigger points and self-piriformis release

The piriformis and psoas muscles work together to keep your back, hips, and legs in normal alignment. There are various knock-on effects when your piriformis or psoas muscles are tight, resulting in many patients experiencing lower back discomfort that won’t go away. When your piriformis muscle is overly tight, you can get piriformis syndrome, which causes a lot of pain.

Why do they cause pain?

The piriformis muscle, located deep in the buttock, is a small however effective muscle. It starts at the bottom of the backbone and extends to the top of every femur (thighbone). The piriformis muscle’s task is to help you in rotating your hip and turning your leg and foot outward. Because the piriformis muscle runs parallel to the sciatic nerve, it may reason excessive back discomfort.

The psoas and piriformis muscles connect the legs to the spine and are extremely significant. You can’t have a problem with one of these muscles without it affecting the other regarding back pain and dysfunction.

The spine can sit directly on top of the pelvis if the psoas and piriformis muscles are long and toned. When the psoas or piriformis muscles are tight, it causes problems. The psoas muscle pulls the bottom section of your spine forward while pulling the upper part of your spine backward if it is overly tight. The piriformis, of course, suffers as a result of the piriformis’ inability to sit in its normal position. If your piriformis muscles are too tight, they will pull your feet apart and move your inner thighs toward the front of your body. The psoas loses the tension needed to sustain optimal function without pain when your inner thighs do this.

Because the sciatic nerve is constricted, piriformis syndrome typically starts with pain, tingling, or numbness in the buttocks. Climbing stairs or sitting for lengthy periods, such as at work or when driving, seems to set off the discomfort.

A piriformis muscle spasm may not seem like a huge concern, but the consequences of the spasm can lead to piriformis syndrome. A piriformis spasm can cause swelling, tightening, or discomfort, resulting in literal pain in your buttocks. As a result, many patients experience unremitting and irritating pain both when moving and while resting.

How to relieve piriformis pain?

Your psoas and piriformis muscles are likely to be affected if you’re having lower back pain. The discomfort induced by irritation or injury to these two muscles can be relieved in three methods.

  • Tight muscles should be stretched.

Massage therapy is one of the most effective ways to loosen up those muscles that are tight. If you opt to stretch your muscles at home, be cautious because if you don’t know what you’re doing or if you have problems that go beyond piriformis tightness, you could do more harm to your sciatic muscle. If you decide to do a self-piriformis release, be sure to stretch the side of your body that isn’t impacted as well.

  • Weak muscles should be exercised.

Certain muscles in their core aren’t as powerful as they could be. You may strengthen your core and provide greater support for your piriformis and psoas muscles by practicing regular exercises to improve your abdominals, glutes, and diaphragm. Regular workouts are important for our patients, and they are a simple thing you may do every day to avoid pain.

  • Consider getting a chiropractic adjustment.

Now that you’ve addressed your tight and weak muscles, it’s time for a chiropractic adjustment to support your joints. A chiropractic adjustment will improve the health and flexibility of your spine while also easing some of your back discomforts.

Care instructions

  • To relieve pressure, massage the muscle. Take a seat on the floor. Lean-to at least one side till your injured side’s hip is off the ground. On that aspect, place a tennis ball under your buttock. As you positioned weight at the tennis ball, you could be aware of a few regions, which might be very painful. Move the tennis ball around gently, massaging each of the sore areas.
  • To relieve pain, practice ice or heat. For 10 to 20 mins at a period, practice ice, a heating pad set on low, or a heated material to the hurting area. Place a small cloth among your pores and skin or heating pad.
  • The piriformis muscle ought to be stretched.
  • Lie down flat on your back.
  • One leg ought to be bent on the knee, and the alternative leg ought to be flat on the ground.
  • Raise your bent knee, after which cross your body with it. With the alternative hand, hold close the outside of the knee.
  • Pull the knee towards the opposite shoulder together along with your hand.
  • For a minimum of 15 to 30 seconds, maintain the stretch. Change your legs.
  • Perform the stretch numerous times throughout the day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is massaging the piriformis muscle beneficial?

Massaging your piriformis muscle can assist relieve stress and tightness in this muscle, which helps alleviate piriformis syndrome pain and discomfort. A foam roller or a tennis ball roughly the size of a tennis ball can be used to massage your piriformis muscle at home.

What’s the best way to loosen up a tight piriformis muscle?

Start by lying on your left side and placing your left elbow at the mat or ground to launch the piriformis on the left side. Your upper body may be stabilized due to this. Place the foam roller below your piriformis at the rear side of your left hip. Roll the muscle backward and forward to relieve tension

When it comes to the piriformis muscle, how long does it take to heal?

Stretching and strengthening exercises, as well as other types of physical therapy, may be recommended by your healthcare professional to aid in your recovery. A minor injury may recover in a few weeks, but a serious injury could take up to six weeks to heal.

Is it true that a foam roller can help with piriformis?

Massaging your piriformis muscle can assist relieve stress and tightness in this muscle, which helps alleviate piriformis syndrome pain and discomfort. A foam roller or a tennis ball roughly the size of a tennis ball can be used to massage your piriformis muscle at home.

What is piriformis release surgery, and how does it work?

The piriformis muscle is removed as much as feasible during surgery, as well as any scar tissue or other structures resting on the lumbosacral plexus/proximal sciatic nerve in the deep posterior buttock area.

Bottom lines

Piriformis syndrome is because of the piriformis muscle compressing or contracting on certain sections of the sciatic nerve; the most well-known threat factors are overuse or sports-associated damage, even though different issues can cause the symptoms.

In addition to relieving your pain, you should see a doctor who can help you strengthen your piriformis muscle so that you don’t have this problem again and again. To strengthen your piriformis muscle and core muscles, relieve back discomfort, and avoid future injury, you can do a variety of stretches and exercises at home.