What You Need to Know About Piriformis Syndrome

When you were a child, it might have seemed like you never had pain. But as you get older,  aches and pains may show up much more than you would like. 

You might even experience pain you never even knew was possible. Intense pain located where your buttocks meet your hip joint might be one of them. Are you experiencing this pain accompanied by muscle spasms?

If you answered yes, you may have piriformis syndrome. At The Painless Center, with locations in Carlstadt and Tenafly, New Jersey, we provide treatment for piriformis syndrome. Here’s everything you need to know.

What it’s like

Piriformis syndrome is relatively uncommon — fewer than 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with it every year.

Piriformis syndrome may start with a tingling or numbness in your buttocks. Then it might grow into a sharp, one-sided radiating pain that may extend down your leg to your foot. Some other symptoms of piriformis syndrome include:

Although the reason is unknown, the condition is more common in women. 

Why it happens

If you have piriformis syndrome, you might be asking yourself what causes it. The condition is usually caused by compression to the largest nerve in your body: the sciatic nerve. 

The sciatic nerve stems from your lower back through your pelvis and down each leg. If trauma is inflicted upon the sciatic nerve, the surrounding tissues may become inflamed or experience spasms. As a result, a jabbing, intense pain in your piriformis muscle may occur.

Here are some of the common causes of piriformis syndrome:

Piriformis syndrome may be easily confused with a herniated disc or hamstring pull. Meeting with an expert like Jason Chiu, MD is the best way to properly diagnose your pain and get you started with treatment.


No one wants to live in pain, especially the excruciating pain that comes with piriformis syndrome. Dr. Chiu has helped many patients with piriformis syndrome live pain-free and prevent it from occurring again.

Here are some of the treatment options Dr. Chiu suggests:

At-home treatment

At-home treatment is generally the first approach. Avoid any activities that may be causing or worsening your pain. Get adequate rest, and ice any area to help relieve pain. Heat may be used also or interchangeably with ice. 


Dr. Chiu may advise you to do specific exercises and stretches to help relieve pressure from the sciatic nerve. Osteopathic manipulative treatment may also be an option to help reduce muscle spasms and improve your range of motion.


NSAIDs like ibuprofen or aspirin may be used to help reduce swelling and pain. If these don’t help, Dr. Chiu may prescribe a stronger medication like a muscle relaxer to help keep you comfortable.


Corticosteroid injections or Botox may be used to help some cases of piriformis syndrome. Corticosteroid injections involve a powerful steroid substance that when administered into the piriformis muscle can provide patients with reduced inflammation and pain for months at a time. 

Botox injections work to block nerve signals that may be causing muscle tightness and pain. The goal of this treatment is to reduce muscle spasms and pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Don’t let piriformis syndrome ruin your happiness. Contact us to schedule an appointment and put an end to your pain.

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