One of the most prominent – and problematic – nerves in your body is the sciatic nerve, which travels from your lumbar spine through the buttocks and all the way down to the foot. Irritation or compression of this nerve can cause shooting pain down the leg, as well as numbness, tingling, and weakness throughout the lower body. This phenomenon is called sciatic pain, or sciatica.
Sciatica is often believed to originate from the lumbar spine due to a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. However, due to the complex network of nerves, joints, ligaments, muscles, and bones in your lower back, buttock, and hip region, it’s possible that your sciatic pain is being caused by something else. One such problem might be found in the muscles of your buttocks, caused by a problem like piriformis syndrome.
When sciatic pain begins to disrupt your daily life, it’s important to seek the professional care of chiropractors like those at Advanced Spine and Posture in Las Vegas, NV. By conducting a thorough examination of the spine, hips, and buttocks, your chiropractor will be able to locate the true cause of your pain and attempt to treat it at its source for faster relief.
The piriformis muscle and sciatica
The piriformis muscle is located in your buttock behind the gluteus maximus. It reaches from the lower spine to the upper part of the femur on each side of your body and helps you rotate your thigh.
If this muscle becomes irritated or inflamed, it can spasm, causing sudden pain throughout the buttock. This can lead to irritation of the nearby sciatic nerve, sending pain signals and numbness from the buttock down the leg and even into the foot. The irritation and subsequent pain is called piriformis syndrome.
Piriformis syndrome is believed to be caused by direct irritation of the muscle itself (potentially from a sports injury or an accident) or by secondary irritation from a nearby structure like the sacroiliac joint. Muscle weakness, joint inflammation, hip imbalances, or vertebral subluxations might also contribute to overuse and stress on the piriformis muscle.
Research has discovered that some people have variations in the way their sciatic nerve travels through the buttocks and legs. In most people, the nerve travels below the piriformis. However, some individuals’ nerves travel both below and through the muscle, above and through the muscle, or through the muscle undivided. People with these nerve variants may be more likely to experience sciatic pain related to the piriformis.
The chiropractic approach to diagnosis and treatment
When suffering from sciatic pain, it’s important to receive an examination and accurate diagnosis to ensure the right areas are being targeted through treatment. If your pain is originating from the buttock but you and your doctor are focused on treating your lower back, you may not experience any relief.
Working with a chiropractor may help you quickly identify the problem and apply treatment solutions to target the pain at its source. Chiropractic offers a range of treatment options for piriformis syndrome, including stretches and exercises designed to loosen the muscle and relieve cramping or spasming. Soft tissue therapy may also be instrumental in relieving tension in the muscle.
In addition to direct treatment, chiropractic may be able to locate secondary problems within your musculoskeletal system that might be worsening your sciatic pain, such as spinal imbalances or tight tissues surrounding the piriformis muscle. By targeting these secondary areas, you may experience longer-lasting relief from your painful condition.
If you’re experiencing pain in the buttocks and legs, don’t wait until it’s debilitating to seek help. Contact the team at Advanced Spine and Posture in Las Vegas, NV, to schedule an examination. Once we’ve identified the source of your pain, we’ll apply the comprehensive treatment methods of the Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach to help you find relief in a safe and effective way.
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.