What is piriformis syndrome?
Piriformis syndrome is when the piriformis muscle is in spasm. Because of this buttock pain is one of the most common symptoms. However, it can also present with pain, numbness and tingling along the back of the leg and into the foot, similar to sciatic pain, as it the spasm can irritate the sciatic nerve.
Is piriformis syndrome a muscular issues or an alignment / structural issue?
The definition of piriformis syndrome is when the piriformis muscle is in spasm, so on face value it’s a muscular issue. However, if we look into a deeper level at what causes these spasms, most of the time it is due to misalignment and structural issues that causes these problems.
What’s the difference between sciatica and piriformis syndrome?
People often mistake that sciatica is a condition where as it is actually a symptom. Many things can cause sciatica such as piriformis syndrome, foramen steinosis, disc herniations and many more.
Why does structural chiropractic work so well for piriformis syndrome?
Structural Chiropractic investigates the cause of the issue, finding where the misalignments are and adjusts them. This can create optimal muscle tension that is attached on the joints. This way spasms are less likely to happen. It also creates optimal movements in the joint so it can move freely. So it reduces the chance of the piriformis from over working thus leading to spasms.
So how does this all happen?
When your joints (any joint) are misaligned, they cannot move correctly. When a joint does not move correctly, the stabilising muscles that support that joint become lazy and weak and the nerve connection to those muscles diminish as it’s not getting used much.
It’s use it or lose it for the body, brain and nerve connections and Just like having a cast on your arm or leg, without moving the joints for just 1-2 months you will see a huge reduction of muscle tone and strength and nerve connectivity.
More specific to the spine, without proper movement of the joints and strength of the muscles and ligaments of the spine, the spinal curves lose their most functional shape and instead of acting like springs to distribute everyday forces, all the forces go onto the bones and discs of the spine and cause degeneration, damage/injury and other dysfunctions to occur.
The deep stabilising muscles and their strength and activity are important as when they are not supporting a joint properly a whole host of problems can arise including piriformis syndrome.
These muscles keep the joints in their proper position… so when they are weak:
- The joint is not getting any support.
- It’s not in it’s optimal position.
- Keeps locking up and lacks proper movement.
- The muscles keep getting weaker.
- The cycle keeps getting worse over time.
- Creates damage inside the bones, joints, discs and nerves
This weakness and instability within the deep stabilising muscles also creates tightness and stiffness in and around the bigger muscles around the body such as the neck (causing tension headaches), chest, shoulders, lower back, buttock and even arms and legs, creating a whole chain of improper movement and stress through the body.