Piriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder that affects the piriformis muscle located behind the buttocks and near the top of the hip joints. Piriformis is a flat, triangular-shaped muscle and is considered small compared to the other muscles in its region. The function of piriformis muscle is to help the hips in rotating and aids the rotator muscles in turning the leg and foot outward. It also rotates the thigh when extended and pulls inward when the thigh is flexed.
In piriformis syndrome, there is a pain in the buttocks due to spasms or contractions in the piriformis muscles. Additionally, the piriformis muscle can irritate the sciatic nerve which is located near the piriformis. This condition can also cause pain, numbness, and tingle in the back of the leg into the foot.
There is no known cause of piriformis syndrome. However, there are several causes that might explain why this condition occurs:
- The spasm can occur in the piriformis muscle when there is irritation in the muscle itself or an irritation on its nearby structure.
- When there is injury or spasm it can cause tightening of the muscle.
- Swelling of the piriformis muscle due to an injury
- When there is bleeding in the area of the piriformis muscle.
Any of the above mentioned can cause buttocks pain. This is due to the spasm in the piriformis muscle and it can affect the nearby sciatic nerve that can lead to pain and numbness in the leg, calf or foot.
Doctors don’t have an exact diagnostic procedure to know if a person is suffering from piriformis syndrome. Experts will only base the diagnosis on the patient’s symptoms. The following are some of the symptoms reported by affected patients.
- Pain is felt when walking or climbing up stairs
- The range of motion of the hips is reduced
- Prolonged sitting can increase pain
- Pain in the buttock may be dull
- Sciatica or there is a pain at the back of the thigh, calf, and foot
If you think you are suffering from Piriformis Syndrome you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Piriformis Syndrome as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).