Piriformis Syndrome

The following is a response I provided on a practitioner forum.

It’s important to differentiate between piriformis trigger point activity or knots and piriformis syndrome. The syndrome, as others have pointed out, involves compression of the sciatic nerve as it passes through or near the piriformis muscle and is associated with neurological symptoms.

Piriformis trigger points DO NOT cause neurological symptoms and give rise to referred pain over the sacroiliac joint region, hip or greater trochanter and possibly posterior thigh.

If you have neurological symptoms such as; numbness, tingling, shooting pain, burning, loss of sensation or weakness in the leg or foot then it could be piriformis syndrome, however, it is essential that your lumbar spine be eliminated as the cause! Not saying your GP is incorrect but piriformis syndrome is RARE.

Both piriformis trigger points and piriformis syndrome result from simple muscle spasm/trigger point activity and will both respond rapidly, 1 -3 treatments, to appropriate dry needling or acupuncture.

I’m very interested that you say “it gets bad towards the end of the day”.  Would love to know what your day involves! If it’s sitting, you most probably need some advice on ergonomics as well as appropriate treatment.


Brett Rawlings
Cred. McKenzie Method Practitioner
Doctor of Acupuncture
Clinical Myotherapist

It’s not a DISCaster

Disc BulgeA diagnosis of “disc protrusion” is not a disaster. When patients learn their pain is most likely being caused by a disc protrusion it can give rise to feelings of fear and anxiety. This is because many of us know or have heard about someone who has a “chronic” back problem. Often they have tried all sorts of treatment and possibly had back surgery. We panic about how it might impact upon our capacity to earn a living, exercise routine and family life.

Disc protrusion, like most health issues, may be mild or severe. The vast majority of patients with disc injury fall at the mild end of the scale and will have back pain from time to time that corrects itself over the course of a few days or weeks. Most cases of disc protrusion certainly do not end up in surgery! What is important, however, is to recognize disc related back pain in its early stages. This is particularly important because you need to learn how to prevent continually reinjuring your disc. Typically, with each injury the integrity of the disc deteriorates and bouts of back pain become more frequent and more severe, perhaps spreading to the backside, hip leg, calf and even foot.
So don’t be frightened by disc problems, but do take them seriously, and learn to “turn off the pain” and get back to living.