Sciatica and Leg Pain

This is a muscular problem which causes sciatic or leg pain. It is often misdiagnosed because it can mimic other problems such as disc herniations which also present with leg pain. The good news is once properly diagnosed it’s usually quite easy to remedy.

The piriformis muscle is a tiny muscle located deep in the buttock, underneath all the Glute muscles. It is responsible for rotating hip and toes outwards. Seems pretty insignificant on it’s own, but problems arise because of the piriformis muscle’s relationship to the sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body which originates in the low back from numerous roots and then runs down the leg to supply all nervous system functions to the leg. On it’s way down the leg, it passes underneath the piriformis muscle. Some anatomic variations do exist: In some people the nerve passes over the piriformis muscle, in some it splits and passes around the piriformis and in others it passes through the piriformis. Problems arise when the piriformis muscle becomes tight because it will often compress the sciatic nerve which gives pain into the distribution of the nerve.

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Signs and Symptoms

Deep aching in the buttock and thigh on the involved side. Usually not beyond the knee.

Pain is often aggravated by sitting, squatting or walking.

Affected leg is often externally rotated (toes point out) when relaxed, such as when lying face down on the bed with your feet over the end of the mattress.

Right leg often affected after driving a long distance if the foot has been in external rotation while depressing the gas pedal.

Often causes low back pain

Some reports suggest a 6:1 female to male predominance

Chiropractic treatment is very effective for piriformis syndrome. Dr. Zilahy can determine if you have piriformis syndrome or other related condition.