Sciatic nerve • Sciatica • Discogenic sciatica
The “Sciatic nerve” is the largest and longest nerve in the human body. It originates at the base of the spine, runs through each buttock, along the back of each leg and into the foot.
The term “Sciatica” describes pain stemming from compression of the Sciatic nerve.
The most common cause of sciatica is degeneration of a spinal disc, otherwise known as “Discogenic sciatica”.
Piriformis syndrome is a condition where the Piriformis muscle located in the buttocks, becomes irritated and causes pain.
Sometimes this muscle irritation compresses the Sciatic nerve and the patient experiences sciatica.
As such, Piriformis syndrome is often misdiagnosed as Discogenic Sciatica.
Piriformis Syndrome causes and treatment
Piriformis syndrome is commonly caused by sitting on hard surfaces for long periods of time, overtraining of the Piriformis muscle or direct trauma to the buttocks.
Conservative treatment will often involve targeted stretches, adjustments and exercises to improve the biomechanics of the hips, lower back and pelvis.
How do I know which I have?
Your medical provider’s solid understanding of the structure and function of the Sciatic nerve and it’s relationship to the Piriformis muscle is key to distinguishing between Piriformis syndrome and Discogenic sciatica.
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