I would like to briefly raise awareness about a nasty muscular disorder called Piriformis Syndrome. In September of last year this thing brought my
physical and mental well-being to a complete standstill. Because it is not very well known, it took me an entire year to get a proper diagnosis and
Piriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder that occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or otherwise irritated by the piriformis muscle
causing pain, tingling and numbness in the buttocks and along the path of the sciatic nerve descending down the lower thigh and into the leg.
Diagnosis is often difficult due to few validated and standardized diagnostic tests, but two have been well-described and clinically validated: one is
electrophysiological, called the FAIR-test, which measures delay in sciatic nerve conductions when the piriformis muscle is stretched against it. The
other is magnetic resonance neurography, a sophisticated version of MRI that highlights inflammation and the nerves themselves. Some say that the most
important criteria is to exclude sciatica resulting from compression/irriation of spinal nerve roots, as by a herniated disk, but actually compression
may be present, but the sciatica still due not to it, but to piriformis syndrome.
Piriformis syndrome is - quite literally - a pain in the ass. The most common symptom is
sciatica caused by compression of the sciatic nerve by the tightening of the
piriformis muscles. Because the sciatic nerve runs directly through this muscle in roughly 75% of people, stretching a lit bit every day is vitally
important. Straining this little muscle can cause a slew of BIG problems.
Most doctors will tell you that sciatica is caused by a herniated disk in the spine. For this reason I spent a year blowing money away at
chiropractors and orthopedists, to no avail. All MRIs and CT scans came back negative. The doctors could not explain why I was experiencing such
intense back pain when my spine appeared to be perfectly normal. At one point I even considered the possibility that I was suffering from some
terrible STD, but those tests came back negative too. The tightening of my pirifomis muscle was creating a tremendous amount of pressure on my back,
which led to bladder problems and the like. My sex life became basically non-existent. I sunk into one of the worst depressions of my life, and I
suffered from intense physical, mental and emotional pain while at the same time remaining completely clueless as to what was wrong with me.
I've finally found some relief from doing some basic stretches outlined in this video. Though I regret all those useless doctor visits, at least I
was able to eliminate the possibility of having more severe and sinister conditions. Still, piriformis paralyzed every aspect of my life. I wish
doctors were more aware about this disorder, because I would not wish this pain on anyone.
Thanks for posting this. I have had some severe sciatica on my right side, ever since I was first pregnant in my early 20s. Apparently, the baby,
due to the position of the uterus, was sitting on my right side, and she was a 9 1/2 pounder. I was in incredible pain for the last few months.
Occasionally, even now that I'm in my 50s, I'll get it pretty bad and it basically makes it impossible for me to move, or even be comfortable lying
down. I used to get prescription pain pills, muscle relaxants and steroids, but I found that stretching and moving it will give relief in about the
same amount of time (along with an anti-inflammatory like aspirin or ibuprofen). Don't need the doc for it anymore.
I also do not have a herniated disk, it's like an old injury that comes back to haunt me from time to time.
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