Piriformis Syndrome.

In this entry, I am actually going to try to be both serious and informative. Hard to believe….but here it is:

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In the past couple of years I have been in a hell of a lot of pain from what has recently been diagnosed as Piriformis Syndrome. If it sounds radioactive, it is. Not in a U238 kind of way but it radiates like a bitch and if you have never experienced chronic pain, do I not recommend it, even to those amongst us who profess to enjoy it. If by some chance, nature did not endow you with an ounce of empathy, this here: tear jerking, fist clenching, teeth gnashing, and all consuming pain, will make you wish you never existed. And the best part of it is, it’s on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and every sorry ass day of the year.

Why am I telling you this? Fear not, I do not need your pity or sympathy, even-though I’ll take your money, but if by some stroke of fantastic luck, you are reading this, and are sitting at home and contemplating the old adage, that dropping like a stone has its advantages, read these here phrases before you decide to leap off the ledge and into the bottomless pit (btw, in you are going to do it anyway, remember that you must jump from at least the 4th floor, to ensure a sufficiently traumatic death? .

As I was saying, in October 2006, I decided that I had had enough of this grief to actually do something about it. I went to see a MDs, and as it turned out, not just one but many. At the time the pain was severe but not yet devilish. I had just finished crossing the country and the Pacific several hundred times, in a three month traveling frenzy, which had aggravated my aches and pains enough to warrant a trip to the clinic. I started to believe that since I was spending all this dough on health insurance, why not give medicine a spin, no more barin’ and grinnin’…. let’s get some relief, you’ve earned it….

Long story short, the pain got worse and worse, the MDs got more and more confused as to why my supposed Sciatica had no visible diagnosis, no herniated disc or spinal stenosis. Hell, at this point, since we can’t figure this out lets shunt him off to the pain clinic; it’s what we do when our protocols are no longer useful and we’d rather not look into it, it’s probably all in his head anyway.
Being the type A that I am, and a strong believer in answers to everything, I simply refused to believe the way this was ultimately going. I decided to enroll my friend Scott, the MD, who one early summer day came bouncing out of the San Francisco mist to casually mention, that I ought to get Botox injections: ” I read a paper recently that Botox injections can be quite effective, if, as you seem to so vociferously believe, that it’s a muscular, not a skeletal thing”.
A quick search (Botox + Siatica) on the internet and there it was, the number three, the trinity(actually six). There are, in turns out, not two but three possible diagnosis for this wretched sciatic misery; and here is my word for it: Piriformis Doloris Vendictis.
I won’t describe it here, just go to these and the other links, I am so generously providing alongside this entry to remind you that medicine is protocol based; to believe in your instincts and listen to your pain, not the physicians who think they seen it all before; just another patient, like every other miserable wretched case before it.
My condition, it turns out, should have been well known to the MDs who treated me, it’s not that uncommon, but thanks to the time constrained and generally disinterested MDs who treated me, I was well on my way to rotting, alongside all the other unlucky corpses haunting the halls of the chronic pain.

Epilogue: I received a Botox injection in the Piriformis last August fourth, and am doing better. Not out of the woods yet, as a lot of physical therapy and possibly many more corticosteroids and Botox injections will be needed to deliver me from this nightmarish affliction, but at least now, it has a name and can be treated like the bitch that it is.

Below, are must reads, if you have any kind of sciatic like nerve pain radiating down your lower limbs. Even if your MRI shows signs of herniation or synopsis, as it often will; do not discount the Piriformis, and mention it to your MD, as a very real possibility. Send him/her the links and nip it in the bud, before it breaks your spirit, as it eventually will as the longer a diagnosis takes, the greater your chances of going insane in the membrane.

Take it from me, chronic pain is unmitigatedly the closest thing to absolute misery. If you have it, wether or not your Piriformis is the culprit, you have my deepest sympathies; I feel your pain, I really do mean it, even if I often profess to the contrary.

109 thoughts on “Piriformis Syndrome.

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  • June 17, 2008 at 5:05 am
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    Running across this website has dramatically lifted my spirits. I have been suffering from Piriformis syndrome for about a year and a half. I was diagnosed last December (2007) after also seeing multiple MD’s (including a neurosurgeon and a neurologist) who all told me I was fine. I feel thankful that the pain and rehab specialist I currently see is very understanding of this condition which causes agonizing pain every minute of the day. I have been through 6 months of physical therapy and multiple steriod injections which have not helped. I am glad to hear botox is working. That is our next step which I start soon.
    As a mom of two young girls, I would do anything to get my life back.
    I wanted to say thanks to the writer of this article who made me laugh, lifted my spirits (which I agree have been at an all time low since this progressed) and feel like I am not suffering alone.

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  • July 1, 2008 at 3:04 pm
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    I’ve had back pain for about 7 years on and off for months at a time. Within the last year or so I had an MRI which showed a couple mild disc bulges and one of my sacrum discs was not fused as a child. But nothing warranting surgery according to the doctors.

    I then started having active release therapy where they push on your butt muscles and this took the pain to a whole new level. I started having muscle contractions in my left butt muscle which was excruciating and having trouble walking. After mentioning botox to my chiropractor who was doing the ART, he mentioned they do IMS (intramuscular stimulation) and that my issue was with the piriformis. After 8 or so needles over a period of weeks it started to get better and the spasms were gone.

    A few weeks ago I did a few yoga moves like downward dog and the next day the back pain increased a lot and I now have a fair amount of pain in the buttock again. It comes close to spasming especially in the morning. I mentioned botox to the therapist who does IMS and they discouraged it based on the risks and she emphasized strengthening the core. But it’s really frustrating how it comes back so easily but on the positive side over the years I’ve started to hone in on the issue being the piriformis (mine was always so much lower than most people and on the left side).

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  • July 16, 2008 at 6:02 pm
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    i’m 29 yrs. old and was extremely (overly) active prior to my injury on the treadmill, while running (a twisting motion caused me severe pain in lower back, initially, then a few weeks later i couldn’t sit on one side of my butt so i switched to the other and now BOTH kill) i couldn’t lift my feet off the ground and was using crutches – pain when i lifted my knee up towards my chest when lying down – pain in my butt!) docs do not care anymore, as you said, imaging is normal – have not yet done diagnostic guided injection of piriformis – but they sent me to pain mgmt. i too refuse to accept “there is no pathology” – you’re the doctor, figure out what’s wrong with me!!!
    i truly believe it’s piriformis – it’s constantly twitching after it gets irritated, is that normal???

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  • July 16, 2008 at 6:05 pm
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    oh yeah, and i forgot to mention the severe sciatica down both legs into my feet – after lying on one side my butt again gets irritated and the muscle starts to twitch!! it is torturous hell and i want to go back to my normal life and work!

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  • July 19, 2008 at 6:23 am
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    This is a comment to stella.
    I also refused to believe that there was no pathology in my case either. My MRI and EMG were “normal”. It was only after going to the pain specialist who truly believes how horrible piriformis can be, I understood that all this agonizing pain is a muscular thing. I also have it on both sides. My right is true piriformis syndrome (the pain never stops and has been going on over a year), my left side is piriformis muscle strain….it spasms and will hurt for weeks, then stops for a few days and the cycle then continues (I don’t have true twitching, but I do feel it spasm). I sympathize with you…this is no way to live. My insurance will not pay for my Botox injections. I am currently working on an appeal, but I think I am just going to have the piriformis release surgery on my right side. Good luck…..find a doc who believes in Piriformis!!!!

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  • July 30, 2008 at 11:37 pm
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    Hi –

    First, it’s a relief to know that there are other piriformis sufferers out there who have gone through the same frustrating medical experiences that I am enduring.
    Second, has anyone succeeded in getting insurance coverage for botox injections? I have to file an appeal and would really like some help in focusing my statements — what worked (or didn’t work) for you?

    Thanks much — fellow sufferers.

    Kristian

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  • September 9, 2008 at 2:35 pm
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    Help! I have tried the chiropractor routine, and deep tissue massage. My neurologist said it sounded like piriformis syndrome and offered botox injection but his schedule is booked until next month. Should I see a pain management person? What exactly is that?

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  • September 12, 2008 at 5:31 am
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    Paula, even though none of the traditional forms of treatment has worked for me ( I didn’t try botox..insurance wouldn’t cover) finding my current doctor who is a pain and rehabilitation specialist has been a lifesaver. I actually am going to have piriformis release surgery on the 19th. I would be happy to talk with anyone about their stories dealing with piriformis. krst02@yahoo.com

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  • October 3, 2008 at 10:41 am
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    I can’t believe I found this website. I am in Pgh, Pa and I welcome any suggestions. I have been suffering for 5 years. It all stemmed from a broken foot that healed and I went back to the treadmill too soon and was walking very fast and lopsided. Unfortunately for me I do have buldging discs and actually through all this had a herniated disc and had surgery. But through all this my pain in the left buttock never stopped and even the neurosurgeon said it was not a result of a disc. I have tried everything from a chiropractor, massage, and went to a pain doctor who was going to inject the piriformis under flouro and my ins. changed which forced me to another pain doctor. He injected twice but not under flouro and it didn’t help.

    I was going back to the chiropractor for deep massage and going to try yoga and I read your article.

    Kristi how did you find out about piriformis release surgery? Do you feel like you are sitting on a nerve 24-7? My job requires me to sit and I can’t stand it. My insurance coverage is lousy and I truly don’t know where to turn. I feel that I truly have not been able to sit for 5 years. I keep thinking it will get better but it never does and if anything its worse. I am ok until I am up for about an hour and then it starts.
    Help
    Mary

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  • November 5, 2008 at 5:58 am
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    I am a 31-year old avid runner who suffered through what was diagnosed as piriformis syndrome for 2 years. At its worst, I couldn’t go from a lying position to a sitting or standing position without excruciating pain shooting down my leg. My lumbar MRI came back showing no problems, so I tried physical therapy, core strengthening, yoga, acupuncture, e-stim, stride analysis, chiropractic, and massage. Nothing worked.

    In one of my many web searches, I came across an article about a local chiropractor who solved running injuries using the Graston Technique (http://www.grastontechnique.com/). It wasn’t covered by my insurance (15 min sessions are $30), but I gave it a shot anyways.

    I went weekly at first and the pain actually got worse. I was limping around and even the slightest move would cause the shooting pain again. But after a couple months of treatments, the pain started to go away.

    Today, the pain in my left leg is totally gone, and that leg even feels looser than my right leg. In fact, the chiro who does my treatment has actually started work to loosen my right leg (the one that didn’t hurt). I’m running pain free again and loving it. I’m going every two weeks, so I’m spending about $60/month on the treatments.

    Disclaimers:

    1. Graston hurts. You’ll see stuff about “mild discomfort” on Graston websites, but there is an element of gritting your teeth and dealing with the pain of the treatment. But it’s a heck of a lot better than the piriformis pain. You’ll also get a lot of ugly bruises after the treatment, but I kind of like those–they’re like badges of honor.

    2. My piriformis pain may not be the same as your piriformis pain. Though I don’t know for sure, I believe my piriformis pain was due to overtraining. I went crazy training for a marathon 4-5 years ago, got real bad shin splints, and never really recovered. It seems the Graston is breaking up the damage I did then (and all the other years of running.

    3. I’m not claiming Graston will work for you. It worked for me, and I tried just about everything else (other than Botox, prolotherapy, and surgery) first. I only tried Graston because I was desperate. But now that I know that was the magic bullet, I wish I would have tried it first!

    I hope this helps someone else get through their piriformis pain. You’re not alone…keep at it!

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    • October 24, 2016 at 7:14 pm
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      I hope Graston works for me.. going in 2 days, it is my first try at any treatment after seeing a chiropractor today. I haven’t been able to run in a few weeks and the pain in my butt, hip and down my hamstings is unbearable. Thanks for the hope!

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  • November 24, 2008 at 10:04 pm
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    Does anyone live in the Dallas area? If so would love to talk. And yes I know the pain. I never get to sleep because pain pills make me real hyper. Has anyone out there had botox injections yet? I had two steriod and it did not take away any pain. I do have a great Doctor that actually spends time with me though.

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  • January 17, 2009 at 1:35 pm
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    I am currently waiting for back injections to “kick in” which I received 4 days ago, for the pains in my buttocks, hips, groin areas and tingling in my legs. These were administered by a back Dr.

    In July I had bilateral hip surgery and was healing fine when I over did it and kicked off this pain which has steadily gotten worse for 2 months.
    Hip doc says my hips are perfect.

    Even though my MRI shows problems with my back, I believe that it must be my piriformis from what I have read. The pain is excruciating and I can hardly get through the day. I am totally house bound. I am taking a muscle relaxant and use ambien to sleep at night. Vicadin doesn’t seem to do any good. I am not against drugs to stifle the pain. What has anybody found that will at least knock it back. I do have small periods of time when the pain moves or subsides but it is always there and flares up.

    Any hints for any type of temorary relief would be appreciated. I can’t imagine having to continue like this.

    Monday I have an appointment to see a neuroradioligist for a consultation and I fear the 2 hour drive to his office. At least he is well versed in piriformis syndrome.

    Anyone have success with the botox injections or a piriformis block?

    I seem to get a little worse everyday and can’t imagine it getting even worse.

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  • February 6, 2009 at 3:02 pm
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    I was recently diagnosed with piriformis syndrome. My doctor could not believe the pain I was in because the x-rays and MRI’s showed nothing. My MD finally sent me to an Ortho and there he figured out it was piriformis syndrome. Due to my chronic pain. I am in PT and have received one injection. However the pain is getting worse. I just wish the pain would go away! I can feel my left side starting to hurt a little as when my right side started in! I am not over weight and I am medically proven to be healthy for my age! It took about 7 months for my doctor to finally listen to me after 5 months of no improvement in Physical therapy ! All I am trying to say is its hard to diagnose and not to give up ! Cause eventually someone is going to listen to you and get to the bottom it! It can be very frustrating !

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  • February 7, 2009 at 9:47 am
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    Wow, I have suffered for about 6 years with p. syndrome, and wondered why there isn’t some sort of support group for people in chronic pain, because the last thing I want to do is lay it on my family any more than I already have, don’t get me wrong, they have been great, but it is only people who have it that know the misery (misery loves company) we feel!!! I like many of you went through many tests and until I found a great neurologist who knew about piriformis syndrome, did I start to get some help. We tried botox injections for a few months, but then my insurance decided to stop paying for that so now I am being treated for the pain. I have found that oxycontin and oxycodone for breakthrough have been helpful, but have developed a tolerance to that (it still helps alot) I am trying to find out if anybody out there has found a medicine that is effective, or if you have tried one for awhile and found out something else that worked better? Anyway my heart goes out to all of us who deal with this hour after hour day after day!! LH

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  • February 11, 2009 at 10:42 am
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    Hi, just a quick question. What type of doctor does this botox injections? I seriously need one of those in this useless Pirformis but I have no idea where to go to?

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  • February 11, 2009 at 6:05 pm
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    I recently made a post due to being recently diagnosed with piriformis syndrome ….I would like to ask a question…..Does any one’s lower back swell after cleaning house or normal day activity’s. Mine has for the past month or so along with pain spreading to my left leg…..with pain behind my knee that hurts to walk on and pain in my ankle and when I stretch my hips they pop…..It feels like if I could only pop my hips I would be able to relieve the pain ! If the pain would go away I would b a very happy person! I am sure we all would!

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  • February 21, 2009 at 8:13 pm
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    I am 32 years old, female, and I believe I havebeen suffering from Piriformis Syndrome for about a year now. I have been to several Physicians over the course of this past year, and have not found anyone who will really listen to me. I am at the end of my rope, and I felt like a light bulb went off in my head when i read about Piriformis Syndrome.I am at my wits end, and am willing to try anything at this point.
    I have always been in very good health and have always been extremely active, Running being my main form of exersize. I began to long distance train and ran several half marathons right before the symptoms began.
    February of 2008 I went snow skiing and fell on my butt several times, quite hard. I was sore, but didnt think i injured myself badly. A week after my snow skiing trip I ran the New Orleans Mardi Gras Marathon. My health nightmare began shortly afterward. I began having lower back pain, mostly in the right side. Tingling and numbness down into my leg and foot. Severe pain in my right buttocks and an awful burning sensation when I would sit for long periods of time. I saw a Doctor about my back pain and had an MRI. They said I have minimal bulging in L5 and some other minor issues, but nothing very serious. They gave me pain medication and musle relaxers. I was also given three epidural steroid injections over the course of a few months, which helped slightly with the numbness but not with the pain. Also caused me to gain 12 lbs. Around the same time I also began experiencing pelvic pain, urinary frequency and pressure , and went to a doctor for that too. I had many tests, with no diagnosis. The pain has become so bad that I cannot perform my job as a secretary and I now only work 2-3 days per week. I was shocked when a google search of my symptoms (out of sheer desperation) came up with “Piriformis Syndrome”. I was stunned and began to cry. I have suffered over a year and not one doctor has ever mentioned this to me. I was told that because I continued to need pain medication and there was no significant improvement with the epidural injections, that I MUST be depressed and need Anti-depressants. I could not convince the doctors that I was NOT depressed, only angry and frustrated because no one seemed to know what was wrong with me, and no one seemed to want to hear me. I do not need anti-depressants…I just want to fix this problem and go on with my life. I have been doing Yoga and intense stretching, Physical therapy, Chiroprator, deep tissue massage, epsom salt soaks and heat/ice treatments, all of which I have searched out and discovered for MYSELF. I really think that I could benefit from Botox injection of the piriformis muscle, and I would be so grateful forANY information about where I could receive this treatment . I am so desperate to find a solution for my pain.

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  • February 21, 2009 at 9:08 pm
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    Jenny and others. I cannot be of much help not can respond to all comments as they come but all I can say is that you ought to be very careful with Piriformis Syndrome…as it is hard to diagnose. Regardless, what i found to be most important has been to be very pro-active, almost combative with your health care providers. I have found them to be mediocre at best and negligent for the most part, overworked and extremely conservative in their treatment. I won’t get into that any further as it is too long an issue. Nevertheless, what I have found to be most helpful has been ART(active release therapy) it’s not pleasant and get make the pain worst for some time but if you find a good one and stick to the program which can run up to 12 sessions you might find relief, more so than Botox and other such therapies. At the same time do not become obsessive with a specific diagnosis, be open minded and keep looking at a variety of possibilities, not just what you may think is Piriformis…. It turns out that my pain probably isn’t piriformis but a bulging S1 which isn’t very convincing as a diagnosis to my MDs as it is not a clear cut case. Be weary of silver bullets. I know pain is mind bending and leads us to desperate acts but eventually we shall conquer it….Stay happy, as much as possible….I wish you the best…and you know I understand what you are going thu….Olivier

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  • February 25, 2009 at 6:09 am
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    Recently found this website – I have had chronic pain > 1 year but it isn’t sharp excrutiating pain, just a constant annoying sensation. I’m convinced its piriformis syndrome (pain in the R butt) and have been to several doctors, etc – the physical therapists wanted to send me to a urologist!?! Are there any other sufferers in the TUCSON AZ area? I am going to a chiropractor who adjusts me and does acupuncture but that doesn’t seem to be helping. I am considering another local chiro who does the grastoning – has anyone else had luck with that?

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  • March 26, 2009 at 12:10 pm
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    A sympathetic hi to all of you who have written. Ive had pain for 8 years – on and off. I had a laminectomy just over 2 years ago – great relief – and that I think is the problem. It maybe that one has two or more problems and not just P/F. Anyway a year later – pain again and then had facet block injection by a Radiologist. Immediate relief. Then 5 months ago this awful pain started again. I went to a new young GP and she did various tests – moving my legs into various positions and said ” you dont have back problems – you have piri formis syndrome. Went to Orthopod who of course said surgery is the only answer. But BEWARE the op. The recovery period is long and painful and should be done as a last resort. Then fortunately found a wonderful Neurologist in Johannesburg.He tested for back problems- none – and also said P/F. Sent me to a Radiologist who injected Botox under CT scan. Now after a week Im waiting for improvement – it is better and the pain is different. Much shorter spasms – believe it takes a while to work – after 2 weeks starts to improve and maybe up to 2months before it is really better. I will write another message to let you know how it goes. In the meantime prayers for all of us with this awful affliction. Keep strong and dont give up. We WILL beat it.
    Mike Woollam (South Africa)

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    • November 1, 2016 at 11:53 am
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      Hi Mike … what was the outcome of your Piriformis Syndrome botox treatment and who is the neurologist you referred to in your comment?

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  • April 20, 2009 at 9:12 am
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    Hi – I commented back in June 2008…still have ongoing piriformis pain…luckily the spasms went away but it’s a daily problem. Back in Jan 2009 I finally found a doc that does botox in my city…so tomorrow I go in for initial lidocaine injection to make sure it’s the right muscle, then may 22 for botox. I’m really hoping that is the issue as nerve root injections, chiro, and IMS needles haven’t helped. When I first had ART it triggered severe spasms for many weeks which are brutal and emotionally draining.

    Recently I found articles on massaging the muscle by sitting on a tennis ball to release the trigger points. I felt like this was helping as there were serious sore spots doing this. But every day when I wake up we’re back to the same issue and some days the pain is worse than others.

    This back pain started in early 2002 and was always really low. Nobody thinks it’s a disc issue although 2 are bulging from the MRI. I use an inversion table for maintenance. When the back pain is first triggered there is so much pain I can’t lie on my back to even conceive of stretching, but I found that using one of those electronic massagers where the spasm is felt can prevent it from spasming. When I tried total resting it still spasmed so I would advise against pure resting. So basically nothing is really working…if you find out you have piriformis syndrome and IMS and trigger point therapy don’t work, then botox might be the answer. Not sure if it will work or how long it will last. I will keep you posted!

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  • April 23, 2009 at 5:54 am
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    Well, like many of you, I’ve been in pain for a goo long while now, about a year. Piriformis issues sound a lot like what I’ve been dealing with. Probably a combination of factors: overtraining without enough rest, in addition to very flat feet (overpronation) and some sacrum and pelvic alignment issues. I’d really like to avoid any injections or operation. A few questions I’m curious about-

    I’ve had pain (a feeling of aching TIGHTNESS) all the way down the muscles of my legs into my achilles and feet. Does anyone else have this, too?

    How many of you have really just take a good few weeks off of any strenuous activity and stuck to yoga, stretching in conjunction with deep tissue massage and ART? And did this help?

    Sarah

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  • April 26, 2009 at 4:18 am
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    I am korean, 36, Male. and have same problem – piriformis syndrome.
    I cannot find any helpful informaiton in our medical system.
    For 4 months(Dec,2008~April 2009), The orthosurgeons and neurosurgeons told me that I had problem in Spine – Disc hernia in 4-5 bulging in MRI. but it was said that not so serious. So I had ‘chiro, drug, physics, exercise, acpunture,, all are helpless.
    3weeks ago, one of Korea traditional medicine doctor told me that I had a possiblility of Pifiromis syndrome. But he didn’t know how to cure it.
    So I went to other clinic which is famous for ‘piriforis syndrome’ and had direct injection(maybe steroid) to Pirifomis twice. the effect was good, but sadly after 4~5days, the pain returned.anyway, through the injection, it turned out that I have Piriformis syndrome.
    Now I had to find other remedy.
    I think that my first option is IMS. I hope it works.
    And the second and the last option is Botox.
    How long it last? I heard it will last 3~4months.
    Botox has a function of eternal cure? or just painkiller for the time being?

    I have to back to work. I lost so many things in my life until now.
    Please let me know your best idea….desperately
    leeyugeun@hotmail.com

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  • May 4, 2009 at 6:15 pm
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    I ‘think’ I have PS. However I only feel the pain in my right buttock. Does this tally with anyone else? I am reading alot of reports about the pain shooting down the leg, well this never happens to me. I first felt it around 10 years ago. It comes and goes. The severity of the pain differs. Sometimes it is merely a nuisance, other times I pray for death.

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  • May 10, 2009 at 11:05 am
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    Yes Mark I have the same thing. No pain down leg but some numbness in foot on occasion.
    The pain in left butt is constant and daily, at it’s worse I get brutal spasms and have trouble walking. It’s degraded over time since 2002 from months at a time to daily now.
    Nothing has worked chiro, physio, ART, IMS, acupuncture, core strengthening, stretching, drugs, trigger point therapy) and most recently lidocaine into muscle…but I am about to try some new things and will let you know how it goes.
    One thing I noticed recently is that even though the prescription drugs don’t work (flexeril and voltaren) nor does ibuprofen I recently had some luck with tylenol 8 hour pill surprisingly enough to reduce it somewhat but I haven’t had any recent spasms.

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  • May 11, 2009 at 11:59 pm
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    Hi guys, I have had piriformis problems for 13 years now, I chased every possible cause and cure for it over the years, Ive seen numerous surgeons and specialists only to leave them baffled. Well late last year I had piriformis release surgery, I immediatly lost all radiating pain down my leg, particularly groin, calf and the dreaded foot pain, my piriformis is still quite sore and tender, it will take a long time to heal, but it cant stop me walking anymore which is great.

    I am like many who have commented here, could not find any answers, it drove me almost depressed, the key was educating myself, I basically diagnosed it myself and found someone who knew about it and could deal with it.

    So dont despair, the surgery is realtively risk free and i was up and about in a couple of weeks.

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  • May 12, 2009 at 1:20 pm
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    Oh my gosh, I feel I can relate to at least a portion of everyone on here and Jenny especially you. I too have been suffering with pain in my rear for 7 years now and was a serious runner. I would run twice a day, was on a running club would lift weights 3 or 4 times a week. I loved running, but I now see that I was overdoing it. Professional athletes get tweaking done and I had never seen a chiro, massage therapist, etc. before that. I remember the pain started in my left leg, at first I thought it was a hamstring injury and it was so bad I could barely walk. Then it improved somewhat and I was a real fool and kept on working out so of course the right leg went to a few months later. So now I have pain in my behind on both sides, but the left is worse. I went to PT, saw a sports medicine doctor and no one was able to help me. I have had to give up all forms of exercise, even doing abs on the floor. Swimming was out too because just kicking my legs causes inflammation (at least that’s how I describe the pain). I was diagnosed as having my left leg fall longer than my right and my left pelvis is tilted too. My legs are actually equal in length but since the pelvis has shifted it turns out my left leg. Anyway, this is a chronic pain that never goes away and it is difficult to explain to someone exactly where the pain is. It is exactly on the bones where I sit down. But they are located sort of below and inside the behind which makes it difficult to describe and uncomfortable at doctor visits. I have suffered exteme depression because of this, running was my life and I still have a hard time knowing I can’t run. Now, though, I don’t mind if I can ever run, but walking my dog without pain would be nice. The pain even hurts at night sometimes. Although, usually it does not affect my sleep. I always thought it was my bones hurting but my myotherapist said it was muscle inflamation, but reading this blog and others, I am convinced I have PS also. Anyway, I am finally seeing a chiropractor and x-rays show I have subluxation in my lower spine and my neck is straight and the spine is supposed to be curved slightly. He said it is the sciatic nerve because it is pinced due to the subluxation, but I am not convinced. I am going to continue to see him for a few months and see if it helps, I figure, either way I need to get my spine in alignment and then if it doesn’t work I can move on to the PS treatment and maybe even see podatrist to see about orthotcs that is supposed to keep your feet and knees in alignment with your hips. I am actually writing too easy, I have experienced tremendeous discomfort and I have a 1 1/2 hour bus commute each way and sometimes it can be pure hell. You never want to be the person who can’t sit still but that is me sometimes and I will end up putting my knees on the seat in front of me just to relieve the pain, but I think when you do not sit and walk correclty it probably just exacerbates the problem. It has been a no win situation for me, but these posts have given me hope or at least comfort to know I am not the only miserable person out there.

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  • May 14, 2009 at 7:48 am
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    **Follow-up to my November 5, 2008 post**

    After battling PS for nearly three years, last month I ran my first competitive race since June 2006. It felt great!

    The key for me was therapy from a licensed Graston Therapy practitioner. Basically it’s a more aggressive form of ART (Active Release Therapy). It took several months of treatments and hurt like crazy, but it worked for me. I now get a maintenance treatment here and there–maybe every 3-4 weeks.

    I’m not saying this will work for any of you–but if you can find a Graston practitioner close to you, it’s worth it to find out. And if you’re close to the Madison, WI area, see Dr. Aberle…he’s the man.

    At the height of my pain, I know I would have slathered honey on my hip and lit it on fire if I was told it would make me better. Thankfully it didn’t come to that. 🙂

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  • May 30, 2009 at 1:45 pm
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    I have just been diagnosed with piriformis syndrome at the mayo clinic. I have suffered with this since 2/2008. I am wanting infor about botox for trt. Where are the best and do they perform this procedure with fluoro?

    This has brought me to me knees and my friends just don’t understand. Although before this occurred. I was active/exercised/funny/ was living my life to the fullest. Now they see me not doing much at all…………….. on ice and not taking drugs…………………….. I drink wine for my pain but not in excess. I am tough…..

    I want an expert for botox with guidance and not me pointing to the pain. I live in Gainesville, Fl and would like somewhere near and it is hell travelling………………..

    thank you and please help me

    Connie

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  • May 30, 2009 at 3:00 pm
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    Okay another update in the hopes that it will help people. After 7 years of pain and trying to figure out what it going on, I had botox injection in piriformis just over a week ago and it didn’t have any impact on the pain. This is extremely upsetting as I was hoping this was the ticket.

    I saw a specialist on friday and he said botox doesn’t really help pain, but it is supposed to relax the muscle. He said I seemed to be looser on that side so it appeared to be ‘working’.

    So we are now focusing on other ligaments/muscles that could be causing the pain. I really thought I had piriformis syndrome as I have a ‘pain the butt’ with awful spasms when the symptoms first appear. It’s now a daily chronic pain condition with no pain free days.

    My advice to anyone with back pain is to make sure you don’t have any disc issues (via mri), before you try ART I would get an ultrasound to make sure you don’t have injuries/tears to any ligaments/muscles. In my case ART triggered violent spasms so I think ART is not for anyone with more serious injuries and not just some tight trigger points, etc.

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  • June 2, 2009 at 8:21 am
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    I’ve had this pain in the butt for over a year. Several doctors, injections into the SI joint and trigger point injections into the gluts (relief but only for a short time). I’ve done PT, chiropractor and everything else I can for this. My pain doc said the next step is to try botox into the piriformis to try and stop the muscle from spasming. I’m willing to try anything at this point. One of my concerns is that the pain is coming not only from the piriformis and SI joint but also the top of the hamstring. Does anyone else have pain in this area also?
    I’m also shopping for the best price on botox. It’s $1100 from the medical center but the doc says I should be able to get a better price from a drug store.
    Will, I heard that it takes awhile (days) for the botox to start working. Don’t know if this is true but I hope it works for you. Please keep me -posted.

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  • June 7, 2009 at 7:53 am
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    Hi Linmarie – sounds like you have a similar issue to mine. I’ve had spasms before so I literally feel your pain, those are the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. The spasms tend to stop after a few weeks but the constant pain doesn’t. I’ve even had trouble walking at times. The botox unfortunately didn’t work for the pain, it’s been a few weeks now. I paid over $400 for the botox and the injection was covered. This was upsetting as I really thought the botox would be the ticket.

    This probably means the pain isn’t coming from the piriformis. I’ve learned that while the botox might have relaxed the piriformis (my doc said it seemed looser) that might not be where the pain is coming from. There are other muscles in the area – gluteus medius, etc so we need to figure out which one is actually causing the pain. Some people have done ultrasounds in the area to see if there is a tear that isn’t healing. I’ll let you know what I find. Hope you feel better.

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  • June 7, 2009 at 2:34 pm
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    Hi Will,
    Thanks for your reply. If the pain isn’t coming from the piriformis does your doc think it is coming from another muscle? I’m starting to wonder if my pain is muscle or nerve originated. I stretch everything in the area & saw the massage therapist again yesterday. In a lot of pain today. Sometimes, I’m better after massage. He also put the kinesio tape in a different pattern. Maybe, that’s what’s worse. I took most of it off awhile ago & put on a lidoderm patch. Those seem to give some relief if I put it over the SI joint. One doctor mentioned a referred pain pattern that starts at the SI joint and goes down and over. (In a L shape). I know what you mean about being upset that the botox wasn’t the ticket. I keep hoping that the next thing I try will help. Please keep me posted & I hope you find your “ticket” soon.
    Linmarie

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  • June 8, 2009 at 5:34 pm
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    I was very excited to find this site. Finally, people who understand the pain I am in!! Will, I was so excited to read you were getting botox and so crushed to hear it hasn’t helped! On Oct. 6, 2007 I was hanging Halloween lights up on my porch and bent over side ways(kinda of twisting) and felt a pop in my lower back with pain I like I have never felt before. I went to an urgent care the next day and got muscle relaxers and pain meds. I was already seeing a physical therapist for over sensitive nerves on my left foot after having bunion surgery. She started working on my back on Oct. 7-heat, stretching, ultrasound, and massage. Over the next few months I went to two sports med doctors. My insurance changed so that is why I switched. The second doctor did some spinal injections that did nothing. I had 3 discs with minimal bulges. He recommended that I get the discs scraped out. He recommended me to his partner for the surgery. Long story short his partner turned out not to be a surgeon. Luckily I found out this before I let him touch me. I ended up going to Utah’s top neurosurgeon in April 2008. I went through more tests and finally ended up with a spinal fusion on my L4,L5, and S1 on June 6, 2008. Before I went into surgery they weren’t sure exactly what the problem was-bulging disc or something else. It turns out the ligaments holding my spine in place were torn so my spine was moving in his hands hence the fusion. Recovery was tough-major muscle spasms all down my back and legs. After surgery the nurse and my husband tried to hold my legs down from such bad spasms. I had to start walking the night of my surgery for therapy. No lifting or bending for 6 months(try not to bend over for 1day-almost impossible). During the recovery I used a cane to help me walk for about 1 1/2 months. It caused me to walk bent over and I started guarding my back. Doing this messed up my gait and I started walking with a limp. Then the pain in my buttocks started. It burns down the back of my thighs and sometimes down the sides of my thighs. I have been seeing a spinal intervention doctor who also is a pain management doctor. In March of this year I had nerves burned in my sacral illiac joint on both sides thinking it was SI joint problems. No relief much to my docs surprise. After more x-rays and testing they said it was muscular and did trigger point injections. After 8 injections over 3 weeks I was still having pain. The trigger point injections helped loosen things but the pain remained, then the knots came back. I am in pain 24/7. I am on pain meds, muscle relaxers and ambien to sleep. I also take anti-depressants. Today I had another injection of steroids and lidicaine through the opening in my tail bone to see if that works. Was pain free for about 2 hours thanks to the lidicaine and have to wait 7-10 days to see if the steroid does anything. They may look at burning more nerves below the L4-S1 area. I want to look into botox. I am sick of the pain. I am the mother of 4 kids-16,13,7,and 4. I am not a good mom any more. It is really hard with my 4 year old. I am probably the only mom around who wishes her little one would watch TV all day. I can’t play with him like I want to because I am always in pain. I just want to stay in bed all the time. Help! Please let me know if any of you have had success with botox. I don’t know what to any more. The fusion has caused a lot of stiffness but the surgery was considered a success-now there is something else wrong. I really think it is PS and want to get my life back. The meds help take the edge of sometimes but I am never free of pain. Please email me any advice you may have. Thanks! klswen@gmail.com

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  • June 11, 2009 at 2:19 pm
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    Krista,
    Sorry to hear your story. I totally understand about the pain. I’ve had the trigger points which did help for a couple of hours and 3 steriod injections which didn’t seem to do much. The pain doc did suggest burning some of the nerves but I had heard so many stories (like yours) that it did not work. Sometimes I use the lidoderm patches over the SI joint which does seem to give some (minimal but better than nothing) relief. I’ve also been experimenting with using flector patches. Thought they might be helping on the ischium for a few days but the pain came back bad as ever. I have burning pain at the ishium which makes it really painful to sit at all. Just got a message from my pain doc that I have to reschedule. Hope the injections help you. Is there anything that helps you?
    Linmarie

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  • June 13, 2009 at 8:31 am
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    Hi again Krista and Linmarie. Sorry to hear about all the pain and trials. It’s very depressing and discouraging to be in pain all the time. I hadn’t heard of nerve burning. It seems very difficult to determine what the specific problem is for many of us.
    Botox didn’t work for me to relieve pain so it’s possible it’s not the piriformis for some of you. I’ve done SI joint injections and nerve root inections and they didn’t help, although one S1 nerve root block helped for a few days.
    My doc thinks I have an injury to some muscles in the left buttock area – he mentioned gluteus medius. I’m having what’s called protherapy, injections of dextrose solution into muscle (or sometimes ligaments) to cause them to heal and also can tight ligaments that are stretched (which puts more force on other muscles). I had to go off anti-inflammatories which I don’t think were helping much anyways.

    The prolotherapy hurts like hell, more than the IMS (dry needling) I had before. It takes a few treatments over a few months and apparently the muscle will heal and rebuild cartilage. But initially prolotherapy damages the area and caused the inflammation and healing process to kick in.
    To me nerve root blocks and other related things are just masking the problem, but the source of pain is coming from somewhere, potentially a tear/injury.

    I think he is getting close to the area because the last 2 treatments really hurt when he was poking the needle in the area and explains why the pain is ongoing because of a possible injury. He also put some in my hip area.
    I think trigger points are less severe problems that can be released with treatment, but for those of us with longer term problems there must be something more involved.
    I will keep you guys posted!

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  • June 18, 2009 at 8:36 am
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    I had some more trigger points in the lower gluts yesterday. I told the pain doc that the ischium area has been the area that is most interfering with my sitting lately. He couldn’t inject over the bone but did several injections around the area. Sore from the injections but some relief. I’m scheduled for more next week. I also got a RX for the botox. He said one of his patients ordered it online and had it sent directly to their pharmacy so they could check it out. I asked if it was from Canada & he said maybe. So, I will check some of their online pharmacies. He does some nerve burning & I asked what his success rate was with the procedure. He wasn’t sure but thought it might be about 60%. Too low for me to try it. If anyone knows where I can order the botox please let me know.
    I will keep you posted on what I am trying.
    Linmarie

    Linmarie

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  • June 23, 2009 at 8:31 am
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    @Olivier (others),

    This sounds a lot like what I had for 10 years. It’s gone now. After trying every traditional (and many non-traditional) treatments, therapies, diagnosis, from several different practitioners. At times I couldn’t even walk the pain was so bad. That was 1984-1994.

    What finally helped was a book:
    Healing Back Pain”, by John E. Sarno
    http://www.healingbackpain.com

    His book: “The MindBody Prescription” is excellent too.

    It took about 6 weeks before I was not feeling any pain. Some people
    experience relief much faster.

    Very occasionally I get a flair up, and immediately know how to handle it on my own. Today I weight train, surf, snowboard, hike (with pack)… no worries 😀

    If nothing is working, and the pain is not something you wish to continue living, you may give Dr. Sarno’s therapy a try.

    ^_~

    ~S~

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  • June 27, 2009 at 6:48 am
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    I had my 3rd prolotherapy injection yesterday. Each time the injections of dextrose have gone into similar areas in the butt and hip area. he’s done gluteus medius and minimus and yesterday he went into a ligament near the sciatica nerve (and actually hit it sending a jolt down my leg – lots of fun!). Interesting to note there are so many more possible muscles than just the piriformis that could cause pain.

    I’ll let you know how it goes as I haven’t seen much relief yet. Apparently this technique forces healing of hard to heal ligaments/tendons over a few months and also tightens them to improve the load distribution through our structure.

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  • June 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm
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    Wow, I am suprised to see all the comments and other people that are experiencing the same pain. I have been dignosed with piriformis and IT band syndrome. I wish someone could just cut my right side of my body off and replace it with a new one. I have finally got a doc that is going to start me on injections next week to relax the area but I’m not sure what that entails. Also physical therapy. I’ve had this for 4 years and am tired of the pain that only gets worse but I haven’t given up yet!

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  • July 2, 2009 at 5:46 pm
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    I have had ps for the last five to six months. Like a few of the others, My Dr. didn’t have a clue as to what it was, had a MRI that didn’t show anything, ended up going to two PT’s before I found an answer. After an x-ray and learning I had a mildly degenarative disc, two visits to the ER before figuring out it was a neuromuscular issue. My bladder was also really over-active I think they are linked, as my urologist could not find a reason for it. Have been off work for the last few months, and feeling like its ground hog day.
    PS pain is the worse type of pain, I have had TMJ where my jaw was locked for months, this kinda pain in incomparable, it makes you loopy. I have had numerous massages, and find that acupuncture relieves some of the pain, the type with a current that relaxes the muscles. I tried stretching and yoga and feel that it inflames everything all over. My PS is runs down both sides where the IT band is and makes my legs feel like they are on fire, and have finally got to a place where I can sit comfortably for awhile. My PT is great and gets rid of the scar tissue that keeps building up. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, keep your faith as it is a painful struggle. Staying positive is really hard, but you have to remember what life was like before!

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  • July 14, 2009 at 11:00 am
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    Thanks Kimberly – I think the main problem is that no one can actually see where the pain is coming from specifically. But maybe this MR neurography can pinpoint the nerve pain. I don’t think everyone has piriformis syndrome, but the pain is originating from some nerve(s) in the butt area obviously.
    And then you have to figure out how to stop the nerve pain from happening.

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  • July 30, 2009 at 9:55 am
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    Update on what I’ve been trying. 4 weeks ago, I had a massage & the next day trigger points in the lower gluts. He got a couple of spasms. Felt better than I had in many months but the doc wanted to do a piriformis injection in another 2 weeks. Had that done 2 weeks ago – coritsone & marcane under flouroscopy. Couldn’t walk the rest of that day & barely the next. Made the pain worse. Yesterday, went to the chiropractor & he noted alot of muscle spasms in the hamstrings (my pain is worst at the ischium area).
    The pain doc still wants to do another piriformis injection along with trigger points at the same time. Of course, I’m reluctant as the pain hasn’t calmed down from the last piriformis injection. I’ve been trying TENS, lidoderm, flector & stretches. My pain is lowest in the morning & increases as the day goes on. Many days in bed by mid-afternoon. Thanks for the info on MR neurography. I will bring that up next visit to the doc.

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  • August 31, 2009 at 10:12 am
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    I’ve had some success with the prolotherapy which has allowed me to sit for long periods of time for the most part. I still have some nagging pain and take a tylenol to help. I’m off all the regular prescription meds like voltaren and flexiril which never really helped much anyways.

    During the major pain stage, with spasms, etc I found nothing really helped like stretching, active release therapy, etc. To me this meant there was an injury so I would generally leave it alone if I were you, and get a nerve root injection and prolotherapy to help the area heal and block the pain. I waited way too long to do these types of treatments. If you don’t get a response within a few weeks it’s probably a good idea to do something else.

    I set up a blog at http://managebackpainnow.com to discuss my issues and other treatments for piriformis syndrome and other low back issues.

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  • September 15, 2009 at 5:40 am
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    Update! I’ve been pretty much stuck at level 3 pain in my butt after having a series of prolotherapy injections. But I recently found a great series of tutorials on low back pain and trigger point therapy – http://bit.ly/AhHru

    Paul feels that most therapies don’t work and often don’t have much of any scientific evidence (including prolotherapy). I can at least vouch for the fact that nothing has worked! Instead he’s suggesting that most of us have muscle knots, aka trigger points.

    I actually found some really sore spots in my butt and hip and even along the spine (much higher than expected). So I’d encourage you to investigate whether you have these sore spots and read those tutorials.

    Drop me a line over at my blog and let me know if you try any of this.

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  • October 12, 2009 at 7:13 pm
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    Botox does not work. I have been dealing with the pain for the past 6 months and have found nothing more than going to sleeep at night as an enjoyable way to get through this horrifitying time in my life. Last week I was given botox as many have suggested by a great neurologist friend and doctor of mine only to find yet anohter treatment that does not work. I continue to seek out new and new treatments daily looking for an anwser. best advise I have recieved is to resume old diaily acitities to strenghten the booty! Ugh Hate this bs

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  • November 11, 2009 at 1:17 pm
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    Another update – I’ve been doing my own trigger point therapy (massage with dog ball) and while some sore spots have gone, I still have the nagging pain. I started a couple trigger point injections but so far it hasn’t helped.

    I recently discovered that by combining voltaren (anti-inflammatory) with tylenol extra strength (red pill), the pain has subsided. I take another pair around 7pm. In the early morning the pain starts to return. So I’m not solving the problem but it is a temporary relief from the constant pain. This may not work if you are in the acute phase or have some other issue.

    In the past I was on voltaren and flexiril (muscle relaxant) but they didn’t help and flexiril screwed up my brain quite a bit ( a big fog and some dizziness). 6 months ago I went off voltaren and the pain didn’t increase so I thought it’s probably not an inflammation issue.

    Not sure why but the combo is helping. It may not last as the body becomes used to it but it’s working right now.

    I’m starting some physio – I want to see if I can get rid of a possible taut band/adhesions and work on the muscle balance but none of that has worked before.

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  • November 16, 2009 at 8:22 pm
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    Okay having some success after doing a physio treatment. Basically my IT bands are super tight – they go down the outside of each leg. I lie on a foam roller and roll up and down, it’s really sore and painful indicating how tight it is. I’m also doing some glute maximus exercises as I was told they are very weak and flat (especially the left painful side).

    I’ve done physio before (clam, bridge, core strengthening) but never really the IT band stretch/massage and glute max exercises. (think it’s the IT band). Many videos describe this as putting the load on piriformis if the IT band is tight. Give this a try and let me know if it helps you guys!

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  • November 19, 2009 at 12:59 am
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    I have been suffering through treatment after treatment with no hope in sight for five years the Dr’s just kept saying they could not find anything wrong until my chiropractor beleve it or not made the diognosis but have yet to find adiquit treament for my severe pain and numbness piriformis syndrome is no joke I hope that soon I may find some relief but first I must find a decent Dr. after so many years of pain I started to think that I just might have to live this way forever but seeing this site has given me hope that some day I will be pain free again. I have tried all kinds of streches but I think surgery is my only option left. now I must find out what all the surgery intells.

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  • December 10, 2009 at 8:23 am
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    i have had pain in my left buttocks four 5 years now . after i sit for about an hour it feels like something is pinching me right were the sitting bone is .then as i sit a little longer the pain begins to get worse and a burning feeling goes halfway down my hamstring. the only difference with my conditiopn is that it only hurts when i sit i can run or walk i can even do all types of hamstring exercises with no pain. but it does hurt to ride abike its like the seat of the bike digs right into the spot that is sore. when i get off the bike the pain is wow! needless to say i can no longer ride a bike. i have seen every docter that u could imagine. with no answers. when i do go to the dr. they feel and push all around the buttock area mostly around the ishium area (they push really hard for me to get the same pain i get when i sit but it never hurts) it only hurts when i sit …… i can not recreate the pain unless i sit the drs. think im crazy. i also had a back mri hip and pelvis mri a mylograhm thats when they stick dye into your spine and spin u around and take pictures everything is negative had a cortizone shot in buttock and the back. what could this be anyone help! i think my next step is to get that mr neurogrphy. it seems like everyone else has other symtoms like trouble walking or running my pain is just on my butt. anyone else out there ever have this problem. thanks ps hope everyone else fixes there problem i feel for ya it sucks being in pain everyday.

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  • December 21, 2009 at 1:16 pm
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    Curt/Rich – I also have a pain in my butt. Sorry to say it’s been many years now since 2001 and no solution. Pushing with your hand won’t reproduce the pain, but you should try sitting on a tennis ball and rotating around on it with your legs bent in the air. You will probably find some really sore spots like I have…even try on your side near your hip as well.

    I haven’t been able to figure it out but I found tylenol with voltaren has helped me during the day. Walking is okay for me in general as long as it’s not throbbing before I start walking.

    Please tell us the results of any MR neurography. MRI didn’t show much for me either just some usual disc bulging on S1/L5. I don’t really want to do surgery and no one is suggesting that this will solve it since they don’t know the source of it.

    The closest thing I can figure is a cycle of tightened butt muscles (trigger points) when then inflame the joint (around S1) and around we go. Every morning I wake up back at the same spot.

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  • December 26, 2009 at 9:52 pm
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    I am so encouraged to find this site. I have been in chronic, constant, unrelenting pain for almost 4 years. It started the month before my 29th birthday. I originally had the pain constantly in my low back, left side butt, and pelvic pain. My doctors all thought it was gyn. related and recommended a hysterectomy!! Very traumatic for me as I wanted more children and no tests, ct scans, mri’s, bonescans, etc. had showed any abnormalities in my pelvic area or spine. After having the hysterectomy I immediately noticed the return of the pain, however, the pelvic pain subsided. This led me to believe it is indeed spine, low back related. I was referred to a pain doc and he was convinced it had to be my left si joint. Had tons of stuff done to the joint, including, injections, blocks, ablation, blah blah blah. Nothing helped. I was referred for an si joint fusion. Going in the doc told me it would not likely help. Pain continued immediately after surgery. I could not believe it. After that failure the pain doc recommended a spinal cord stimulator. I had that removed quickly as it only made my legs vibrate and didn’t help pain at all. I have switched pain docs and new one I saw a couple of weeks ago said it really is not likely si joint as everything has been done to it with no help. He now wants to try some different injections at s1 level. After reading this I am going to ask him to also inject the piriformis muscle. I have never had pain in my life, always healthy, fun, active…ran miles a week. Since this started four years ago I have become housebound, no longer work, and lay on the couch all day. I am a mom of 4 kids and cry all of the time because I used to be so much fun and loved my duties as a mom. Now I just can’t wait for school because I can sleep the entire time they are gone to avoid the pain. I often pray for death and have contimplated it. I feel people just get so tired of hearing about it, but as the moderator has said, NO ONE understands chronic pain until it happens to them, and of course you would not actually wish it on them. It’s a horrible cycle. Sometimes I think it would be easier to have some life threatening disease that way there are types of treatments that can make you better. I am so praying the injections to the piriformis will be successful.
    Thanks for letting me ramble. I would love to hear from any of you, especially young moms, who are going through this and feel there are no answers.
    Courtney

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  • January 4, 2010 at 5:23 am
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    Hey Courtney – I’m really sorry about your horrible situation.

    As I mentioned nothing has worked for me including botox in piriformis but hopefully it will work for you.

    During the holidays on the day of my flight home something twinged in my back, this time in the central area and when that happens the first few days I am hunched over and often can’t walk (thankfully not this time). But it recovers within a few days. Then the butt pain kicks in.

    It is an intense pinching feeling in the left butt. I can only sleep on my right side which is tough because I like to roll around. The pinching is worst when I try to roll onto my stomach. During this phase the only thing that helped was an S1 nerve root block so I am going to the doctor today to try that.

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  • January 9, 2010 at 2:18 am
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    This blog encourages me. I live in Mauritius and five years ago after some 9 months of using a treadmill excessively I developed intense pain in the right buttock brought on by walking on hard surfaces. 9 holes of golf ie walking on grass is sometimes ok. My othopod here diagnosed osteo arthritis of the hip after looking a x-rays and eventually gave me a Birmingham hip resurfacing in 2006. No help at all. He then said get a MRI of spine and see a neurosurgeon. Two of these later I had a lumbar decompression 2008 in Mumbai – again lots more pain but no help. My physio has suggested piriformis syndrome so I have been researching this – stretching techniques, MR Neurography ie Dr Aaron Filler, injections etc. I would like to be properly diagnosed but cannot find a MRN scanner anywhere near me. Costs about £1000 in London. Does anyone know of whereabouts of this machine in say Reunion Island or SA?

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    • March 17, 2014 at 7:55 am
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      Dear Nick,

      I saw your post in the website. I am Mauritian from Port Louis and suffering from Piriformis Syndrome as well.

      Can I please have your phone number. I so need to talk to someone to see how you went through for treatment.

      Right now I am living in pain and even stopped working.

      Please contact me back.

      Qaysar Islam

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  • January 22, 2010 at 6:53 am
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    I’ve been posting here on occasion. Going to try to get an MRN if I can here in Calgary, Canada. Seems it should show which nerve is irritated and possible entrapment and hopefully what is causing it.

    Recently I had an s1 nerve root block and it relieved the pain instantly but it only lasted a day. So that would indicate it’s probably the miracaine that is added to the injection.

    Going to try some ART again and masssage to see if there is any entrapment at least but sometimes I feel this is just irritating the nerve more.

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  • February 13, 2010 at 6:01 pm
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    I have been suffering 5 years from Piriformis syndrome but have not found anyone who gives a rats ass or believes in it. My right SI joint is fused from a pool diving accident in the 80’s and I am in pain all the time. My rt buttock, outer hip flexor and hamstring hurt all the time. I have had ESI’s, SI injection, PT, chiro, Meds, Massage therapy, prednisone packs, no relief. I am in agony. I live in SC and if any one knows who I can go to please let me know. I am suffering bad. I am taking Yoga and it hurts me too. I cannot cycle, run, walk, and am pretty athletic and need help.
    I will about do anything, no matter the cost to get me out og this misery. My family has no idea what kind of pain I am in and tells me I have to just deal with it. Well, it’s hard and I see why people want to kill themselves to keep from suffering their pain all the time. I see why cancer patients do this. I know now.
    Help!

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  • February 13, 2010 at 6:29 pm
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    Donna- Have you given pain management any thought? Methadone in small doses is a very effective synthetic narcotic…They prescribe it to pain patient and it helps a lot, it does not have the stigma that it once had…. I know they give it to recovering addicts but it was and is mostly a pain pill and a good one at that..Of course you should really look into it and inform yourself, it is not a small decision to make as it is a REAL bitch to kick if you ever get rid of the pain…but in the meantime it will, if you respond well, be a great pain management drug. Look into it, ask your doctor, a good doc, one who understand pain medecine…

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  • March 4, 2010 at 9:18 am
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    I just wanted to report some good news finally. My pain has substantially subsided as of late! The three basic things I started doing was ART, massage therapy and taking calcium citrate.

    Calcium citrate – someone mentioned on a forum that the repair of tendons which are close to the bone come from calcium in the bones so common blood tests might not detect issues with calcium in the bones. This coincided with the pain relief after 3-4 weeks.

    ART – I had this before but they were much more aggressive in the past and actually caused spasms. The current doctor also stretches and works on the psoas muscle which I never had worked on before. After about 4 or so treatments it still wasn’t any better so I was about to give up on it.

    Massage therapy. Some really sore spots all over like in IT band, calves, hamstrings, etc.

    Thumb massage in upper left glute near bone. I noticed my left upper glute seems to be much less toned probably because I’ve been putting more weight on the right side. There is a really sensitive spot in there that I massage myself.

    Foam roller – rolling around on my quads, IT band and recently inner thigh, found some really sore spots.

    One great theory I heard was that I might have had some disc irritation at first years ago then that resulted in the tilting of my pelvis to avoid pain. I’ve definitely lost the usual curve in the lower back. So I was told to stretch the hip flexors, psoas and quadratus lumborum to allow the pelvis to return to natural position.

    I’m not out of the woods yet and have had occasional numbness in my left foot as well. Hope that helps someone!

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  • March 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm
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    I’m wondering if any of you have tried acupunture. I’ve had injections into the SI joint & ischium that gave me a little relief for awhile but the pain is back as bad as ever. I’ve been getting massages (some temporary relief) & do stretches every day. My chiropractor & pain management doctor think my problem is muscle spasms. Since I don’t know what else to try I’m considering acupunture. I really appreciate this forum.
    Linmarie

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  • March 23, 2010 at 10:39 am
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    I have had chronic pain in my hip area for about 18 years. I’ve tried everything including exercise, pain management, physical therapy, massage, anti-inflammatory drugs, acupuncture, chiropracty, neurosurgeons, back surgeons, etc. I am a teacher and I live in constant pain. Bad pain. You know how it is. The kind of pain that takes your life away. I have read about a doctor in Santa Monica (I live in Texas)who does a special surgery (I think it is an outpatient procedure) to relieve periformis syndrome which I believe I have. I have had a physical therapist and an acupunturist tell me this is what I have, anyway. I have been to a neurosurgeon who could find nothing wrong, he said, except a little scoliosis and age-related spinal stenosis. I’ve been to other doctors who find nothing “significant.” My pain is more than significant. I believe my spine is rotating due to scoliosis and pulling on the tendon that connects the periformis to the hip bone, thus constricting the muscle and causing the sciatic nerve to be severely pinched. Anyway, I cannot remember the doctor’s name in Santa Monica but I’m going to check the internet. No, I can’t afford to go to California and I’m not even sure my insurance will cover it, but maybe they will know someone closer to home who performs the surgery. I have even considered suicide as a way out of this pain, but of course that’s not the answer for me. I am chronically depressed and have been on anti-depressants all these years. I think if I didn’t have this pain I wouldn’t be so depressed. If any of you out there know of a surgeon who does the periformis syndrome surgery, please let me know what you have learned.

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  • March 24, 2010 at 6:13 pm
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    I have given birth to two children, and my piriformis pain rivals labor pain. I do not know how the folks have lived with this pain for so long. I believe I came into my piriformis syndrome from an overdone yoga pose, but have had great curative results from yoga. Four or five times a day I apply heat then do stretching exercises which include Pigeon pose (hold for a minute-takes that long for stretch in piriformis to occur), and Cow faced pose. I have read that also Bound half lotus is great, but have been in too much pain to go there yet. I found four other stretches on internet sites that seem to be working well too. My son’s acupuncturist tells me that she treats this often, so I am going to her tomorrow. I’ll weigh back in on how that goes, but she seemed pretty confident.
    Finally, in yoga we learn to be aware of posture, and to think of “stacking the spine” in your pelvis. I’ve been trying to be mindful of that concept, and can feel relief in the pressure on that painful area when I sit up very straight, shoulders back.
    I’m only on day 5 from onset, and I can once again drive the car without crying from pain. I know these things sound so simple as to be lame, but I feel like it is all working. Oh, and sleeping with pillows under my knees to slightly elevate the pelvis has helped me get through the night!

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  • May 6, 2010 at 4:30 pm
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    I have had classic piriformis syndrome for almost a year. Once it had set in, I could hardly sit for more than a few moments, so I worked with my laptop standing all day. Car rides were the worst. Sciatic-like tingling, or pins and needles, down to the calf/ankle from the trapped nerve. Continued light exercise but nothing too straining. ART and massage aggravated the spasm, so I stopped that. Had all the classic stuff–cortisone site injection, epidural injection around L4-L5, etc. Did the stretches, the tennis ball. Micro-disectomy, finally, for what was seen as a small disc protrusion. To the person who said their piriformis was worse after surgery, indeed.

    Finally, I just had the botox injection. It’s still not common for this condition, so am not sure how soon to expect to feel or not feel the muscle and/or how soon to start gentle stretching and/or massage.

    Any thoughts? Am not going back to PT because I think I could teach a class on piriformis streches and pelvic stability at this point. But will start stretching soon and consider ART again. Massage, for sure. But when?

    Thank you in advance. I feel for all in this thread. It’s a difficult thing to deal with, much less explain to someone who has never experienced.

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  • May 13, 2010 at 7:01 am
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    To those who think they have piriformis syndrome, you may not so be careful. I had botox in piriformis and it didn’t work. There are many muscles in the glute/hip area.

    I just wanted to give another update that things have improved and are still doing okay. Still some issues and numbness in left foot at times but much preferred over pain.

    I can’t explain exactly what happened to help it but I took calcium nitrate (apparently helps heal tendon injuries), had ART and massage. I did ART before and it caused spasms so I was skeptical but this time it was much more gentle.

    Now I sit on a dog ball and lean back and move my leg around, cross it, etc to hopefully break up any scar tissue. It’s hard to believe it’s better after 8+ years of pain and it always comes back so we’ll see.

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  • May 25, 2010 at 9:38 am
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    Will, I’m happy to hear you are better. I’ve also been having alot of massage therapy & sitting on a tennis ball at times. I have to be careful with the stretches, they exacerbate the pain. Yesterday, I tried the piriformis stretches again & they really increase my pain. So, I agree with you that my pain is not necessarily piriformis or I’m hurting it someway with the stretches. Other glute stretches don’t hurt as much. I’ve decided against the botox (for now). I’m thinking about contacting the doc in Santa Monica that specializes in the area. The massage therapist does help. I am going to try a hot springs spa again tomorrow. Last time I went, I felt better everywhere except the ischium (inflammation?) Hope your pain doesn’t come back this time.
    Linmarie

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  • June 14, 2010 at 12:44 pm
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    I am glad I stumbled across this site…it is refreshing and yet difficult to hear of many others who are suffering and not finding relief. I have been in pain that has increased across the last 11 months…it started as a slight pain and has moved to a constant all day, every day no matter what I do. I was training for a marathon when the pain first started and had to postpone that…I ran a half marathon this weekend after taking a little break the past couple months from doctors/therapy/chiro/etc. I have tried ART therapy, traditional therapy, chiro and nothing has worked. I live in a super small town and acu/massage is not really available…I drive 90 miles one way to get to my docs! I was wondering if anyone has tried the wedge device?? Also I am scheduled in two weeks for RF ablation on the L5-S1 area to see if that will relieve the low back, sciatic, piriformis pain. I guess I am still lucky because my pain is limited to the low back, piriformis, hamstring areas…has yet to go down past my knee. The pain in the piriformis is so bad that I often stand all day sitting on that tennis ball is worse than a visit to the dentist for a root canal…I hate the tennis ball!!!! Any feedback on the wedge or the RF ablation would be appreciated!!

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  • June 14, 2010 at 9:24 pm
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    I’ve had buttock pain on and off for a long time. I ran and biked alot. Now i do yoga but a few weeks of hiking and spinning and it’s turned into major sciatica. I sleep so nicely and it feels great. But then it kills as soon as I stand up. Forget about sitting. I actually set the floor for dinner and my spouse lays on the floor with me to eat together. To go on an outing together, I lay in the back of our wagon. When I must drive I have found that sittin on a small plastic binders helps some. So does vocalizing ( scream, yell, sing or whistle. I’m doing accupunture (not helping) and seeing a chiropractor that also does message. In all my research I plan to use massage, trigger point therapy, a good diet, releasing pent up emotions, creating positive affirmations, rest, and most importantly muscle balance therapy. It’s the recipe I’m working on anyway. Hope that helps.

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  • March 26, 2011 at 11:04 am
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    I feel like I’ve just found a lost family. I am lying in bed with a heating pad and an iPad because I can’t sit at all. It’s been a year and a half but I’m starting to lose it and am glad to know I’m not crazy, just in unbearable pain. Thanks for the helpful advice as I will start a few today.

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  • May 6, 2011 at 12:28 pm
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    Okay guys it’s Will, I’m baaaaaack! :0

    Sorry to hear that some of you still have pain and while everyone might have different issues I have learned a few things since I last posted. Like I said above I’ve done everything from chiro, ART, IMS, botox, prolotherapy, nerve root blocks, physio, stretching, sitting on a dog ball (trigger points), ice, heat, blah blah blah.

    The last time I got relief I couldn’t figure out exactly what it was but I started doing ART yet again but slightly different (not as aggressive for one), but then I added massage and some chiro. That did the trick for 6 months after stopping treatment. Then we moved to the east coast and it started up again in sept 2010 when I was sitting a lot for my day job. At the time the pain improved I was also taking glucosamine and calcium so I wasn’t sure.

    So out here I thought it’s probably the massage since I had never done that before so I started massage only. It didn’t help. So it took awhile but I found a chiro who does a little ART but also has a deep tissue massage therapist on staff. So I started doing both and voila the pain was gone after a few visits. I still have some numbness but the pain is gone. It mostly came when I stood up, you get that nagging jab in your butt. This time I wasn’t really taking anything.

    For massage make sure you get a deep tissue massage therapist who knows his/her stuff. Mine has science degrees and differentiates herself from those who ‘push hard’ to use her words. Surprisingly there is little pain when she does her thing – she focuses on the glutes (both sides as you usually compensate by leaning on your right side) as well as the lower back, really sensitive spots in the center between the verterbrae it seems.

    It’s really hard to believe I was able to first get relief after many many years of grief, and when it came back, to find another set of folks who could replicate what I did. Don’t be doing physio at first when you are in pain, as you need to relieve the pain first, usually there are lots of adhesions and scar tissue in the muscle. Then after the trigger points and scar tissue are gone, you work to stretch and then strengthen the muscles. So many people try to stretch and strengthen right away which only aggravates the condition or is ineffective. Hope that helps!

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  • May 17, 2011 at 4:06 am
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    Hi guys and gals

    Had the same problem for six years now, no permanent relief in sight, the UK health service cannot cope with this problem.

    Just a small piece of information though – for those having trouble sitting, a kneeling chair / stool has reduced sitting pain symptoms dramatically for me as it unloads the glutes and reduces the pressure on the already pressured sciatic nerve. Was worried at first as it hurt my knees for the first few days, but am now used to it and the knees are fine. Even driving now is less painful due to reduced pain generally, I suspect the reduced load is allowing things to heal a bit.

    Hope this helps

    Rich

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  • June 11, 2011 at 9:51 am
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    I have been in the same pain for a year and a half and I cannot believe others are experiencing this also. I have pain bilaterally – down both legs and both buttocks. It started with severe pain down both legs and sitting was impossible. It is now a year and a half later and I find I can sit for about an hour now without the tingling and pain down both legs but I can’t work still and I’m frightened of my future. It made me sad to see others are feeling so desperate and I too have thought of suicide as a way out but I don’t think I could do it either. I still have hope some days and I’ve tried accupuncture, PT for months, chiropractic, and nothing really helped significantly although I think they all helped a little. My doctor wants me to have a nerve block on my right leg as I have a nerve that seems to be irritated on the inner thigh that we both think is possibly a separate issue. I wold consider the botox as I think it could be piriformis since i sat VERY long hours for years before this all happened daily. I worked too much and now i am not working at all which is scary. I jumped through hoops to get the MRI Neurography approved by my doctors and health insurance here in Massachusetts but so far I can’t get it covered – and this is after months of convincing my doctor to give me the order so it’s been a ridiculous waste of time. I cannot say enough how much I think the healthcare industry is so poor despite the fact that I have the best health insurance around (or one of the best). There is an MRI neurography here in MA and I would like to do it at some point but I need a doctor who can help me get it approved. nobody believes in piriformis either so it’s hard to get help for this but I can’t go on much longer like this either – it’s just misery. I’m glad I found this page. thank you and hope to hear from others about what helped them. I read somewhere that Myotherapy helps so that is what I’m going to try next. OH and what is ART therapy? I looked it up and only found art therapy which I don’t think is what people mean here!

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  • July 27, 2011 at 12:04 pm
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    Sorry to hear about your problems. Hang in there as with persistence you can find a solution. ART is active release therapy where you try and break up the scar tissue/adhesions that have formed over time. ART alone didn’t work for me and seemed to aggravate the condition as one guy was very aggressive – I used to get brutal spasms in the glute at 4am which was totally misery.

    PT and chiro didn’t work for me either – then I added a good deep tissue massage therapist to buttocks and lower back, as well as psoas muscle, IT band – but I think butt/low back did the trick together with a chiro adjustment. Took at least 5 visits twice a week. I had chronic butt pain with left foot numbness for almost 10 years. I sit a lot myself as an IT programmer – I often cross my left leg over and other things that don’t help. My feeling is get rid of the pain first before you do PT (strengthen abs, etc). Hope it helps!

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  • July 28, 2011 at 4:10 pm
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    Greetings, lying in bed with heating pad under my buttock, pillow under my knees… thinking; am I going crazy! Is this pain real? Is this a life worth living? How on earth can it hurt so much for so long? Most people don’t understand; just suck it up and live with it!
    I now have much empathy for my son in-law whom has suffered with chronic back pain for many years; experience is a cruel teacher
    I feel much sadness reading the stories here of all the painful suffering we are all going though. Thanks for the tips and advice on dealing with this. I’m not sure where I’m heading on my journey with this pain; however now I have some comfort in knowing there are others whom understand what I’m going through.
    Best wishes for everyone, Milton

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  • August 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm
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    Ok folks, I have not chimed in since this post has been up, as it’s author I am obliged to keep abreast of it’s activity and who visits and their concerned about their chronic pain…which as you all know is a misery as reflected in these comments. Of all the 275 blog entries I have posted since April 2007, none have generated more interest than all my other, more “interesting” posts…and the reason for than is that pain rules most of your lives. I personally have long ago given up on the Piriformis diagnosis and/or spinal herniation and the myriad of what I call “bad spinal” medicine, which seems to be the norm in modern clinical medicine…. a failure of immense proportions…!
    As it turns out, most chronic pain issues, and especially those which involve the back or legs, neck and arms are due to TMS (Tension Myositis Syndrome) as discovered by a NYU physician called John E.Sarno… Your best bet is to pick up his latest book and read it carefully” The Divided Mind, The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders” or any of his previous books…all easily found on Amazon… you can also go to this URL http://tmswiki.org/ and find out more about TMS. Chances are you have TMS…. Read his book with an open mind and take the steps to feel better….. Best to all of you…..

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  • December 17, 2011 at 8:15 pm
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    I recently had lumbar spinal decompression and was having “barbed wire” pain in my buttocks and down my legs to my knee. As my MRI results seemed to show no nerve restriction, I am being sent to pain management. On my first visit, was prescribed neurontin and given some (5) needle sticks in my buttocks. 5 days later, the pain has gone from prickly pain to severe tightness pain in buttocks, hips down legs, and has now gone into lower part of legs which was the ONLY place I wasn’t having pain previously. I went from getting prickly pain after prolonged sitting to now being barely able to sit at all. The injections seemed to make my problem go from bad to worse and seemed to throw the 11 weeks of PT I had down the drain and start me back at worse than square one. I said all this to say be careful of letting someone stick needles in your piriformis as it may elevate your pain.

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  • January 4, 2012 at 7:51 am
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    I have been suffering from piriformis syndrome for over 7 years. therapy has only made my pain worse,. allergic to steroids. Oct 31, 2011. I finally got my Dr. to give me my first botox injection. I went from barely moving to volunteering at an animal shelter 2 hrs. a day. I was in heaven. then my worst nightmare happened. The injection wore off. it seemed to happen very fast, not slowly and it didn’t last the three months as expected. now I’m in pain again counting the hours until i am able to get the next shot. (like a drug addict) Is it etched in stone that the injections be spaced 3 months. I’ve gone from being productive and worth something, making a difference to worthless. And my dr doesn’t give a crap. Does anyone have any information about how long these injections last?

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  • January 5, 2012 at 10:10 pm
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    2 years and 8 months ago I had a severe fall on concrete that resulted in crippling low back pain and sciatica that went into my foot. >My local doctors in Washington state pushed me off on pain clinics that seemed to take endless shots in the dark.(ESI’S, facet blocks, ect) A periformus injection was tried..Effective for a short time but the relief wouldn’t last. My pain specialist said,”I’m sorry but nothing I try seems to work.” And then he said to go back to my Primary care Dr. for more direction. At this point I began to advocate for myself. My inlaws live in California so I flew in to Santamonica to seek treatment at the UCLA comprehensive Spine Center. I met with a Dr. A Nick Shamie who was spot on with his diagnosis from the first time I met with him. When I fell I damaged the ligaments that held the SI joint in place which resulted in sacroilitis and a Periformus syndrome. Long story short-he ended up doing a minimally invasive si fusion with ifuse screws. Afterwards he referred me to Dr. Aaron Filler in August of 2011. After a very thorough initial patient exam I returned to Washington state with orders for MRN imaging and a second botox injection. UW in Seattle,WA has MRN imaging so I made the 3 hour trip there to get the MRN. When the pictures came back severe inflammation was seen around the siatic notch. This confirmed Dr. Fillers diagnosis so surgery was scheduled for November 10 of 2o11 at Cedars Sianai hospital in la (WILL write more later)
    Ally

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  • February 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm
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    I have been fighting the Piriformis pain for almost 3 months now.This is the punishment I get for all the years of basketball,jogging,and snowboarding with minimal warmups and stretching.After reading all of these posts,I feel really defeated.My doctors are worthless in diagnosing and treating the unbearable pain I live with daily.I can no longer drive a car because I cant sit .I wake every morning at 4 am with the pain in my left buttock that brings me to tears.My stretches actually seem like they make it worse and leave me with a “raw”feeling in my muscles.My life is at the mercy of this pain.I am trying to get the botox or steroid shot for now so that I can at least make it to work and to PT.How can something so simple hurt so bad?I need help and there seems to be no solution in sight.

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  • February 9, 2012 at 10:45 am
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    Hey Allison

    I am very interested to know about the outcome of your surgery with Dr. Filler. Could you please post an update ?

    A brother in pain from Chile

    -R

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  • February 10, 2012 at 7:19 am
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    Thank God for this site & all of your appreciation you show of this excrutiating debilitating & relentless pain. So glad to feel less alone with this problem. My own story started in October 2009. I am a qualified nurse & midwife & mother of nine children. I worked 30hr weeks, had a good social life. did at least an hour a day at the gym & had so much energy that even doing fun things with the children was exciting & my lifestyle was in a great place for me, life was good. Then in Nov 09 I started to sduffer from sciatica. Having had short bursts of this during some of my pregnancies, I carried on waiting for it to subside as it usually did over a few days or at most a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, it just persisted over Christmas & the New Year & like most busy mums do – I ignored it & just put up with it! Sitting was excruciating, as was standing for any length of time. Eventually, in Jan, I stopped volunteering for homebirths or shifts on labour ward & only opted for postnatal ward each day at work. My reasoning for this was that the 14hour shifts in a room with a labouring woman involved lots of standing or sitting. Postnatal on the other hand, meant post op women & newborns needing constant observation & other new mums were ringing for help with breastfeeding, pain relief etc. so it meant being on my feet for 14hr days which lessened the pain a little. In Feb 09 my husband was taken into intensive care & put into an induced coma – so life was even more hectic for the next 6wks until her was conscious. As soon as he woke – I went straight into see him & he burst into tears! He was so upset at the sight of me. I had lost over 34 pounds & was walking with a really pronounced limp – and I hadn’t even noticed how bad it had got – I was too busy to notice & just put up with it! Iwas totally unable to sit at all & the only wat to find some relief was to kneel on my hands & knees, so this is the only way I “sat” at home. Hubby made me promise to go to the doctors straight away. So in March, I visited my GP who immediately diagnosed a slipped disc & referred me to an orthopaedic Surgeon. After an MRI & x-ray, a definate diagnosis of two herniated discs was confirmed. I also had some scoliosis & some osteoporosis. Surgery to remove the large disc bulges was arranged for the end of June. Throughout all this time, the pain was getting worse & worse. I couldnt sit down at all, other than on my knees leaning forward. I even slept on my knees! I could hardly stand or walk as the pain hade slowly made me lean more & more forward to compensate. My husband tells me I used to cry in pain in my sleep! In May I was referred to the pain team by my surgeon. The team put me onto crutches to straighten my posture & they started me on regular voltarol & liquid morphine, which helped a little but I was still only able to sit on my knees & walking upright even with the crutches was agony. Sciatica down both legs, pain in my lower back, buttocks, thighs, through my calves right down to my heels . Sharp, intense, pins & needles like short bursts of sharp electric shocks continuously. I had the microdiscectomy op as scheduled & the surgeon was pleased with the result. The pain however, had not gone at all & I could still only sleep/sit on my knees,only walk with crutches only the, if I was taking the anti-imflammatories & morphine regularly. Isaw the surgeon 6wks after surgery & he just said he was happy the surgery was a success & didn’t want to see me anymore! t
    This even though I told him the pain hadn,t subsided. I was then left with a referral to physio which finally sent me appointment for August. I duly went along to see them & after a 20 minute assessment – which left me crying with agony-they said that I was in far too much pain for them to do anything with me. They then made a referral to the pain clinic for December. Off I went to the appointment & he upped my morphine dosage, started me on large dose of anti depressants & anti epileptic pills that all had proven side effects of helping with nerve pain. After taking all of these regularly until September 2010 & still being in constant agony & by this time, unable to stand let alone walk even with the crutches & nobody offered any help to me or my family.I was unable to bathe,wash myself,dress/undress myself & spent lots of time sleepy & confused due to the medication. My husband insisted I went back to my GP which I did at the end of Sept. He then referred me back to the pain clinic & back to the surgeon again! I saw the pain clinic consultant in January 2011 & he told me I looked like a 70year old woman (I’m 40!). He then added slow release 40mg morphine tablets to take twice daily, 20mg diazepam, 35MCG slow release, weekly patch to my ever growin prescription list! He also made an urgent referral back to the surgeon. I finally got an appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon in May 2011! He sais he could not see anything on MRI but felt that a spinal fusion & Laminectomy might do the trick. By this time, I had been off work for over a year & I had to rely on my husband & older children for every day care as I was totally “out of it” most of the time & could not be left alone. I struggled sleeping because of the pain so was prescribed by my GP, huge amounts of a very harsh sleeping tablets (75mg amiltryptiline) Because of the morphine, I was feeling nauseous constantly & itching to the point of being cover in raw skin where I had scratched off whole layers! S I was prescribed antihistimines & anti-emetics (anti- sickness) tablets to add to my daily medication regime! I was given the surgery in June 2011 & within a few hours of the operation – the pain came back with a vengeace! I had to stay in hospital for 5 days but then they refused to dicharge me until they had placed safe disability aids in my home. No matter that we had lived without them for last 18mths! I came home to bath rails, inflatable bath aids. heightened toilet seats & permenent handrails in both toilets, a new handrail up the stairs. Again the pain was back & now I was confined to a wheelchair as I couldn’t put any weight on my feet because the pain was so intense, from the arches of me feet right up my calves,thighs,buttocks & lower back along with being constantly sleepy & confused due to the amount of medication. Unable to get a wheelchair upstairs, I was having to crawl around on my hands & knees as I was still in too much pain to stand or sit upright.My feet, knees & elbows are covered in calluses from having to crawl everywhere. My friends had all stopped visiting because I’d often fall asleep mid conservation or telling them things over & over that I had already told them & forgotten. My confidence dropped so badly that I just couldn’t go out to socialize or family parties etc. I was left this way again until December. At this time I was referred to the mental health team & diagnosed with bi polar disorder & given even MORE medication. Four days before Christmas, I took a very large overdose as a suicide attempt. I just could not bear the pain anymore, as well being a burden to my family & losing my independence & dignity. I was released from hospital the day before Christmas Eve & went through Christmas & New Year still in agony & seeing no light at the end of the tunnel! Eventually I spoke to my GP yet again, & he referred me to community physio. In thbe middle of January, a physiotherapist came to my home & said that he had seen my MRI & he had no idea how I’d coped so long as he could see that all of my muscles had shortened considerably and the same with my nerves, He was very kind & told me it would be a long recovery process. He started me on a few exercises that had me in floods of tears because of the pain, but I so wanted to get back on my feet & out of pain. After a couple of visits & without warning, instead of him turning up for my appointment, a different physio appeared & told me he had taken over from the last one! Anyhow, he watched me move, saw my notes & immediately felt me at key points & immediately asked if I had heard of Piriformis Syndrome. I replied that I hadn’t & he advised that I research it as it seems almost certain that this was what I was suffering from! Oh the delight of not feeling like a fraud! The happiness that I feel havin planning with the physio – a slow, helpful, program of physiotherapy with a view to using excercise & soft stretching to help me towards a path of hopefully much less pain & totally attainable goals! I would love to hear stories of people who have been diagnosed with Piriformis Syndrome & actually got to a place where the pain is manageable or even gone completely! I can’t seem to find answers to how long this can last or if you suffer for life but the symptoms are lessened. I want to know if this is going to be a life long syndrome that can still flare up occasionally or goes completely. Sorry if I seem to babble on – but it is so helpful to see I’m not alone in this & the constant, neverending agony is not just me being a wimp but real. Thanks for listening guys – hope all your suffering is short x

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  • February 13, 2012 at 12:50 am
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    I’ve had Piriformis Syndrome for 2 years and (just two days ago) diagnosed it myself, after seeing 12 Health professionals ranging from Neurologists to Accupunturists to Spine Docs, to Pain Management Docs, Psychotherapists to Chiropractors. I read Sarnos books too, by the way. But Sarno does not tell you how to stretch the Piriformis muscle from being overworked and compressed. Sometimes, it’s just not that complicated!!! What tools did I use to diagnose it? A TENS unit, a pen, a sheet of scratch paper Google and YouTube. I’ve spent close to $20K (and I have insurance) trying to get to the bottom of this. I’ve had four MRIs, one EMG, 9 X-rays, a hysterectomy and a little over two years of hell. Oh, and I forgot to mention how many physical therapists I’ve seen and podiatrists for the associated foot pain that has developed from it. How do I know I’m correct? Because I found three extremely effective Piriformis Syndrome Stretches and have been doing them periodically for a period of 48 hours and the pain is leaving! Am I confident that I can now resume my long walks, hiking trips, elliptical machine and weight resistance training? Well, no..not yet. Do I need to see if I’m in the 17 percent of the population that has the sciatic nerve traveling directly through the piriformis muscle by having an MRN? Yes, why not? Do I need cortisone/botox injected into the piriformis muscles? Yes, probably…give these stretches a nice boost and lets go back to living again. If the nerve is traveling through the center of the muscle, then I’m all for the surgery to free it up. If it isn’t (which I expect to be the case) then I’m all for stretching as many times a day as I need to, having an occasional hit with a needle if needed and beginning to return to a life with no chronic pain and money to spend on something besides Dr. Bills.

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  • February 14, 2012 at 11:43 pm
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    Dear Rosemary- Can you tell us what the three stretches are that you have been doing?

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  • March 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm
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    Hi everyone,

    I just found this site today…I have been struggling with piriformis syndrome and sciatica pain on alternating sides for about 5 1/2 years now. My greatest sympathies to all of you, for I truly understand the toll that chronic pain takes on you. I used to be a really active person, I ran competitively for years, and loved hiking, running, biking, etc. I still can’t look at a person jogging by without getting choked up.

    The first year and a half I was in agony with piriformis syndrome/sciatica pain on my left side, I took mostly the traditional western medicine approach and reached the point where the doctor look’s at you and asks you to leave because they don’t know what to do with you. I also tried deep tissue therapy, ART, I think what finally worked was that I kept a tennis ball in all the places that I went (in my car, in my office drawer, next to my couch, etc.) and I would sit on it pretty much constantly, it literally took maybe a year or so of doing this, but it gradually became controllable, I even got to the point of being able to run occasionally. About a year and a half ago it came back with a vengeance, initially on the opposite side, and now for the last ~6 months primarily back to the left side.

    I’ve tried just about every type of doctor, had 3 MRIs, cortisone shots in my SI joint and both piriformis’s (none of them did anything), chiropractor and acupuncture were not useful and did not help with pain. I’ve totally changed my diet as well as added a bunch of supplements…I do the PT exercises when I can but I just can’t seem to get the pain under control, and I can feel the muscles failing because of the pain, so the PT doesn’t seem to be productive. I’ve been put on a variety of pain medications although none of them seem to really even touch the pain, even the supposedly hard-core stuff. The only effective one was prednisone, but apparently it is too potent to go on more than once. I agree with a lot of you that stretching typically seems to make it worse, even though most websites suggest stretching as the main solution.

    I think what resonated with me most about these posts was the absolute dismissal by doctors, who, when nothing “significant” shows up on an MRI, or when they lightly stretch my leg straight up and I don’t scream in agony, seem to think I am wildly exaggerating the pain and most seem to just want me to go away. I try not to blame them, I think the structure of the medical systems forces doctors into too tight of a time limit to be able to think critically about each individual, but I leave drained and feeling completely helpless. I welcome any advice on how to be a better advocate for myself…instead I find myself constantly “dumping” doctors when I see that look in their eyes of doubt. I also struggle with the mental side of the pain…you know when you get to the breaking point of not being able to take it, and then past it, and the pain still keeps going…I am not proud of where my head goes in those moments. I actually tried going to a psychologist for a bit, but I think it’s one of those things that is really difficult for people who have not been there to understand.

    Next steps…I’m thinking about trying one of those kneeling chairs, going back to living a constant life with tennis balls, and discussing botox with doctors (although the results here seem mixed). Thank you all for sharing your stories, it really helps to know that I’m not alone in struggling with this.

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  • March 21, 2012 at 8:38 pm
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    I do hot yoga and ironically, it actually triggers my Piriformis to become over contracted, so I have to do other stretches to overcome the intense muscle use during hot yoga. I have knocked-knees so I think its a structural complication that tightens my IT bands and puts too much stress on my piriformis.

    In any case, there are stretches that have helped me:
    (the first one is the least “professional”, but the stretches actually helped the most because Im one of the 17% that has a sciatic nerve goes through the piriformis):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFtUgS69rPk&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qZ517Rw7ME
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjTbU9-ogbU&feature=related

    I recommend strengthening the abs and hamstrings, allowing the neighboring muscles to do more work for you, rather than the piriformis kicking in to help stabilize the body.

    I also use a “Thumper” self massager and dig it in the muscle and that helps a LOT, but I usually need to do it each day.

    Best of luck to everyone. =)

    Zoe

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  • April 7, 2012 at 9:46 am
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    Yes, Five months now with Piriformis Syndrome, which started out as a tingle in the back of my thigh, to a shooting pain through the butt and thigh and now 5 months later a burning sensation in the butt and thigh. When is this going to end? I have been stranded in public line ups and caught sitting in my vehicle at red lights. This burning pain becomes a sharp hip pain after long periods of standing or driving. I am still waiting for a miracle!…..the day when the sciatic nerve is dislodged from my piriformis muscle. Until that day i will keep on pounding my butt cheek with a rubber mallot!

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  • April 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm
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    It has been a year dealing with my husbands workers comp dr. Everything he has describe for the last year all indicates Piriformis Syndrome and now he is numb in the groin area. Still our doctor does not think he has this. Well if this is not it what is it? My husband is in constant pain and yet when we say your not looking in the right area what happened? He ordered the same test that he did 6 months ago, then the day after the last MRI he took an xray. I was like really? How in the world do I get someone to listen especially when it is workers comp? I am open to any suggestions at all.

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  • April 17, 2012 at 9:03 pm
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    Dear All:
    I am another sufferer of so-called priformis syndrome. I went to see the Dr in CA who did diagnose me with this. However, most of the other doctor’s have not agreed with his diagnosis. As someone mentioned in the forum it is really hard to correctly do the diagnostic test. You only feel the pain when you sit. Recently, my pain has increased substantially. My MRI neurography showed split priformis muscles with irritiated sciatic nerve. Interestingly, the MRI doctor did the diagnosis and reading of the imaging. Yet other doctors are silent? They either do not know how to read images or dumbfounded. In any cases, I am still not sure if I will go for surgery but I have been doing ART and massage therapy and somedays it works and other days it does not. I think it is worst than cancer. Because cancer sufferers eventually die if not healed but priformis syndrome sufferers lives with pain.

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  • May 5, 2012 at 12:59 am
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    Hello, I have been suffering terribly for 7 years with piriformis syndrome. I was wondering if anyone has seen the website http://www.destroychronicpain.com? Also if it looks credible. I’m willing to try anything!

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  • May 10, 2012 at 11:47 am
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    Hi,
    I was so sad to hear of all your pain stories but also find comfort that I am not the only one suffering constant pain. My pain began 6 yrs ago in my right leg and gradually spread. It is now in my middle back, right buttock and leg. They think it is the piriformis causing the pain. Like everyone else I have lost count of the things I have tried to lessen the pain. I read one helpful bk called explain pain (butler and Moseley) it helped me understand what pain is about and how staying positive can aid recovery (not easy) I have been to some very dark places over the last 6 yrs, I am currently on anti-depressants and they are helping the mental side. I’ve Come to realise chronic pain doesn’t just take it’s toll on the body, it takes over your mind too. I am trying to stay positive and on the really bad days I am trying to remember my breathing and coping mechanisms (and not spend the entire day crying on the sofa). I am very fortunate to have 2 young children. Although it is so hard being responsible for them when I’m in such pain and I hate not being able to run around with them, they give me something to live for….I had Botox in th piriformis 2,wks ago, at the moment my buttock is more painful and causing a numb /painful right leg but I’m hopeful it will improve. E eryday I think of something I am thankful for, some days i am too fed up to do it but some days I can. My next plan is to attend clinical pilates classes, although I need to practise lying on the floor because t is too painful at the moment. I hoped the pain would be less before I started but …we’ll see. Any way I have ranted enough. I wish you all well.

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  • May 10, 2012 at 11:47 am
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    Hi,
    I was so sad to hear of all your pain stories but also find comfort that I am not the only one suffering constant pain. My pain began 6 yrs ago in my right leg and gradually spread. It is now in my middle back, right buttock and leg. They think it is the piriformis causing the pain. Like everyone else I have lost count of the things I have tried to lessen the pain. I read one helpful bk called explain pain (butler and Moseley) it helped me understand what pain is about and how staying positive can aid recovery (not easy) I have been to some very dark places over the last 6 yrs, I am currently on anti-depressants and they are helping the mental side. I’ve Come to realise chronic pain doesn’t just take it’s toll on the body, it takes over your mind too. I am trying to stay positive and on the really bad days I am trying to remember my breathing and coping mechanisms (and not spend the entire day crying on the sofa). I am very fortunate to have 2 young children. Although it is so hard being responsible for them when I’m in such pain and I hate not being able to run around with them, they give me something to live for….I had Botox in th piriformis 2,wks ago, at the moment my buttock is more painful and causing a numb /painful right leg but I’m hopeful it will improve. E eryday I think of something I am thankful for, some days i am too fed up to do it but some days I can. My next plan is to attend clinical pilates classes, although I need to practise lying on the floor because t is too painful at the moment. I hoped the pain would be less before I started but …we’ll see. Any way I have ranted enough. I wish you all well.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm
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    I share the pain! Laser therapy doesn’t work either as I am currently trying it. I believe botox will be next on my list. Five years of pain and many many Drs. Some very rude Drs. at. that. There are a few Drs. listed that claim to do surgery, I’m keeping them in mind after I’ve exhausted all my options. Thanks so much for this site, there seems to be many of us!

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  • May 19, 2012 at 11:38 am
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    Oliver,

    Thank you for suggesting reading Dr. John Sarno’s book ‘Healing Back Pain’. As a physician, I was extremely skeptical but in severe, unrelenting pain for 4 months. Within a week of reading the book, contemplating the physiology proposed, and taking the suggested treatment plan, I was cured. It goes against everything I have learned in medicine and if it did not work for me, I would not believe it if a patient were to tell me. I owe you very much and do not even know who you are. I suggest that anyone in chronic pain read this book from cover to cover with an open mind and reflect very carefully on it. It worked for me and I was about to have surgery! Thank you again

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  • June 10, 2012 at 3:01 pm
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    I just found this web site so not sure if anyone is still active with this forum. I have experienced sciatic pain on my left leg for 4 months. Physical therapy and drugs aren’t helping. It only hurts when i walk for 15 minutes, the feet becomes numb and it comes and go. Not sure if i have a disk problem or piriformis. How can i tell? I don’t have back pain. When i sit, i am fine but as soon as i get up and walk, the tingling begins.

    Thanks for any feedback.

    Nick

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  • June 12, 2012 at 10:35 am
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    I have just found this website today as I have been suffering all the classic pain symptons that describe Piriformus Syndrome and I’m trying to look for a cure but there doesn’t seem to be any 🙁 I’ve had it for 5 weeks and after reading all these stories of people having it for years I am now scared for my future. I was supposed to grade for my Black sash in Kick-boxing last week but couldn’t so thought I could get myself better and do it in September but after reading these blogs that does not look likely either. I went to my doctor who said it was a slipped disc but my Si Fu who is also an osteopath said it’s not a slipped disc but tight piriformus due to a rotated pelvis. I just want to know what I’m dealing with so I can cure it. It hurts when sitting and relieves after walking, first thing in the morning is so painful and getting in the car is excruitating and I’m terrified of sneezing as it feels like I’ve been shot in the butt. I have massage treatments and acupuncture twice a week but it’s not helping. My spine is very cracky as well making all sorts of noises when I click it. Don’t know what to do.

    Any feedback welcome,

    Sarah

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  • June 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm
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    Thank God I have finally found people who have the same pain I do. I’m 18 years old and I’m a runner. I’ve been dealing with pain in my butt, back, and hamstring for almost 3 years now (which is a long time at my age). I’ve been to
    what feels like at least 10 different doctors/physical therapists and I’m not getting much better. I have a huge foam roller, i sit on a tennis ball/ ice pack every time I drive, and I have trouble concentrating in class because the desks cause my butt to feel inflamed. I tried taking 5 months off from running and nothing changed. I really miss running and not having to worry about just simply sitting in a hard chair. The only thing that’s helping me now is I got a prescription for an anti-inflammatory pill. It makes my pain more manageable. This is one of the most difficult things Ive had to deal with and I have a high pain tolerance like most intense long distance runners do. Whenever I feel like I cant take any
    more pain, I see someone in a wheelchair and I thank God because I know it could be so much worse. I just wish I had someone who could fully understand my pain, because my parents are getting sick of me complaining… but sometimes I feel like Im not mature enough to handle this by myself!!

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  • June 28, 2012 at 7:19 pm
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    Nick/Sarah/Melissa,

    My strong advice is to read John Sarno’s book on Healing Back Pain. I had severe unrelenting pain consistent with Piriformis syndrome and I was about to have surgery. I read this book which challenged everything I have learned as an MD. However, it worked almost overnight and I got my life back. I have not taken a pain medication since I read the book and implemented the treatment plan. My guess is that it would help you too but at the very least, it is probably worth a try. Hard to do justice to the book in a blog so I will not go into details. Good luck.

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  • August 16, 2012 at 1:12 am
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    Piriformis Syndrome – you guys have said it all. The most horrific pain there is and one of those “rare” things most doctors never see. I am 60 yr old female in car accident 1997, a passenger in front right seat and took all the impact. On/off different drugs for 15 yrs looking for relief and all the while being told I was an addict just looking for drugs. Now add to this a husband who felt sorry for himself (he was driving the car-too fast,too close) and who stole all my money after his affair and who is also a stage 3 abuser who rages and has threatened to kill me in the past. I recently found an ad for a job I KNOW I could do if I could JUST STOP THIS PAIN and get off these awful drugs. BUT-piriformis, piriformis, piriformis!!! I lost hope and was even beginning to believe it would be better if I were DEAD. Now – I have this new information and I will get Dr.John Sarno’s book to read and study. This will either be the miracle I have been crying out for or nothing has changed. I will let you know.

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  • August 26, 2012 at 7:32 am
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    Okay it’s Will again -I’ve been posting here since 2009. I had tried everything under the sun (botox in butt, nerve root injections, ART, chiro, dry needling, prolotherapy, physiotherapy, etc) and I’m fairly convinced that a proper massage therapist was the answer. Not one that doesn’t know what they’re doing or that causes a lot of pain during massage. Mine has 2 science degrees. If you happen to get rid of the pain with massage there are still likely postural and other issues to address (I sit a lot for work).

    I haven’t had the butt pain since I posted in March 2010. When I had the pain, I had brutal spasms during the night, could barely walk or put on my pants. One time when I was trying to walk to work and old ladies were passing me on the sidewalk, I started rubbing my upper glute (gluteus medius perhaps) on the left side. After 5-10 minutes something released and I was able to walk perfectly fine. That might have been a little clue of something like trigger points. I would have trouble getting up from sitting from after 10 minutes of walking I would start to loosen up again.

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  • August 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm
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    I have had Piriformis Syndrome for 18 awful months and have experienced all that everyone here has posted. I also have a 25 plus history of back problems including 2 surgeries. I bought the John Sarno book as advised. It works. EVERYONE who is having these issues or any such related issue needs to read this book. Also highly recommended is Howard Schubiner’s “Unlearn Your Pain”. IT WORKS. IT WORKS. IT WORKS. I have my life back again!

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  • January 23, 2015 at 12:21 am
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    Oh, how I wish I would have found this post about 2 years ago when my nightmare started. Although, I understand they don’t just call it a medical PRACTICE for nothing, I wish I wouldn’t have been the one practiced on. I don’t mean any disrespect to those that treated me, as I have appreciated their attempts and the hope each brought. In all of my searches for pain in the butt’s, Piriformis Syndrome never showed up. Had it, I would have gone straight to my provider and felt 100% sure in self diagnosing my pain.

    Thankfully, I managed to get a great physical therapist a year ago who showed me a few great stretches that have helped me get back to an active life. I still have pain, but it’s manageable. Even with the pain being manageable I didn’t have a reason for all the pain, until today. Today, I finally got the answer from an orthopedic hip specialist. I was so happy to finally know what and why I have this pain. Your site and others have totally reaffirmed the diagnosis. Thanks for your post.

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    • October 13, 2016 at 1:11 pm
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      Hey there are 4 possible anatomic confirmations through which the sciatic nerve, either split or whole, can pass through over or under the Piriformis muscle. Correction of its surgical impingement or entrapment requires a doctor ( neirologist) experienced with 4-squared surgical techniques. I don’t care about epidurals, nerve blocks, botox, bandaisds, ok? And I am 3 disabled weeks out from an L5-S1 microdiscectomy and laminotomy to “correct” my sciatic pain based on repair of a collapsed disc, where I woke from the surgery whaling in sciatic pain. It was always Piriformis syndrome and a MR–Neurography scan by the Neutography Institute would’ve saved us a lot of time to diagnose and REPAIR the pain’ s primary source.
      So here’s my question: dr asron filler, neuroradiologist, is the only dr I have found who is versed in all repair surgeries (do your Medscspe searches and see YouTube). Not just the nice clean one where the big fat sciatic nerve runs smoothly over the Piriformis muscle snd grows a few tissue tethers. He works in Santa Monica , CA, with a long waiting list for consultation. Does anyone know a neurologist in the tucson/Phoenix area who might be trained in these reparative procedures? The Arizona pain institute only shoot Botox and steroids in there and that’s just expensive band aids. please help!

      Reply

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