A Pain In The Butt! Piriformis Syndrome And How Chiropractic Helps Time And Time Again

A Pain In The Butt! Piriformis Syndrome And How Chiropractic Helps Time And Time Again

chiropractic care for back pain

Commonly confused with sciatica, piriformis syndrome in Mount Maunganui causes similar pain in the lower back and buttocks that often extends down the back of the leg and into the foot. It is caused when the piriformis muscle irritates the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle extends from the sacrum to the outer hip bone, and is located deep in the buttock, below the gluteus maximus muscle. When the muscle becomes shortened or tightened, or if it goes into spasms, it can become inflamed, putting pressure on the sciatic nerve that runs beneath it. In some cases (up to 10% of people) the sciatic nerve runs right through the piriformis muscle, making it particularly vulnerable to muscle spasms. The inflammation may also cause scar tissue and adhesions to form, which can trap and irritate the sciatic nerve.

The most common risk factors that may lead to the development of piriformis syndrome are activities that involve excessive weight bearing, running and changing direction. Many athletes suffer from this condition, particularly runners and weight lifters. Externally rotating the hip for extended periods of time can also lead to piriformis syndrome, something that is common among ballet dancers. If you tend to walk with your feet turned outward, this can indicate a possible source of the problem. Misalignment of the bones of the pelvis may also be involved.

Both too much exercise and too little may contribute to piriformis syndrome. Athletes should avoid the following: training on hard concrete surfaces, increasing their workout too quickly in either duration or intensity, training on ground that is not even, and exercising in shoes that are worn or do not fit properly. Those who are sedentary should avoid beginning too strenuous an exercise routine at first, and should gradually building up endurance. Everyone should avoid sitting for long lengths of time to avoid triggering piriformis syndrome (and to keep healthy overall).

Diagnosing Piriformis Syndrome in Mount Maunganui

Our doctors at Britannia Chiropractic will conduct a full evaluation of your spine and pelvis and the related musculature to determine if in fact you are experiencing Piriformis Syndrome. That includes direct palpation to detect tight and tender muscles and trigger points that cause referred pain down the leg. A resisted external or passive internal hip rotation that causes increased pain also helps point towards the syndrome. We will also perform orthopedic and neurological examinations.

Chiropractic Care

One of the least invasive yet most effective professional treatments for piriformis syndrome is chiropractic care. A chiropractor can use pelvic and spinal adjustments to address the misalignments or structural shifts that may be causing the piriformis muscle to spasm. This allows it to relax, releases the trapped sciatic nerve, and significantly reduces pain and pressure. Other treatments for piriformis Syndrome include myofascial release (pressure applied to specific sensitive muscle areas), stretching and strengthening exercises, and massage. Posture and ergonomic advice such as core muscle exercises may be prescribed. If a fallen arch or another foot dysfunction is the problem, you may be given a script for orthotics and instructions for specific foot exercises. We do all of the above at our Mount Maunganui area clinic.

Piriformis Syndrome can literally be a pain in the butt. However, it is correctable with proper treatment and post-treatment care. Don’t delay when you’re having pain, tingling, or and numbness lasting more than a few days. For the majority of those checked in our clinic with these sorts of problems, there has either been a significant overall improvement or it has completely solved the problem. If you or someone you know is suffering from piriformis syndrome and sciatic problems, call us at 07 574 3099 for a complimentary consultation and to set up a time to have your spine and nervous system checked.

Dr. David Guest is a Doctor of Chiropractic, a member of the New Zealand Chiropractic Association, and owner of Mount Maunganui and Te Puke Chiropractic in the Bay of Plenty.  Dr. Guest focuses on an area of chiropractic called Structural Correction and has been in practice for 17 years. You can reach Dr. Guest at david@mtchiro.co.nz or (07) 574 3099.


7:30am - 11:00am
3:00pm - 6:00pm

3:00pm - 6:00pm

7:30am - 11:00am

3:00pm - 6:00pm



Mount Maunganui Chiropractic
2A Tui Street
Mount Maunganui
Tauranga, 3116
(07) 574 3099