Sciatica vs Piriformis Syndrome

Sciatica is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. This nerve originates in the spinal column, passes through the hip and down the legs. The most common causes of sciatica relate to spinal injury, disc herniation or degenerative disease, and quite often the term Sciatica carries with it a perception that this is something to be lived with and managed.

The problem is that the term Sciatica gets used as an umbrella term for a range of symptoms that present in a patient with dull pain originating in the mid/lower back that radiates down the leg, that worsens when sitting for prolonged periods, accompanied by tingling and numbness and potentially stiffness or difficulty moving legs and feet.

Quite often these symptoms are diagnosed, or self-diagnosed via Dr Google, as Spinal Sciatica when in fact they are being caused by muscular inflammation that is compressing the nerve, mimicking sciatica. One such condition is known as Piriformis Syndrome, inflammation of the Piriformis muscle, and is treatable through Sports Therapy allowing for a quicker recovery from any symptoms felt.

One common difference between Piriformis and Spinal Sciatica is to do with rotation of the leg in the hip joint. The Piriformis muscle sits on top of the Sciatic nerve within the hip and so when it becomes inflamed, either through injury or postural imbalance, it presses down on the nerve causing the same symptoms as Sciatica.

Another sign that points to Piriformis instead of Sciatica is absence of pain in the mid/lower back, particularly the spine, with symptoms being felt in the hip and down the leg.

If this sounds familiar, then get in touch as there are tests we can do to rule out Sciatica and allow us to relieve your pain and remedy your condition!

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