Is it Piriformis Syndrome???

Is there anyone with diagnosed Piriformis Syndrome , who can tell me if my symptoms sound familiar?  I’ve had terrible glute, hip, calf, foot, low back, and thigh pain for the past year . It gradually began 2 yrs ago and became worse over time. Triggered by sitting too long. Now, the pain is constant, and I have to take Tramadol and gabapentin to manage. 

Chiropractor : Says hips are misaligned, one leg shorter than the other.

Neuro: I have budging disc with broad anular fistula at L4-L3 and L5-S5, mild stenosis. 

Rheumatologist: I do not have the gene for ankolosying spondylitis or any autoimmune disorders. Says I’m hyper mobile, and could be the cause...... 

The pain is so deep and intense that I’m constantly digging and rolling my muscles which only seems to aggravate it. Huge lumps and knots In my quads, calves and hips.

Background: I’m 35, in good shape. I’ve had one fall at age 18, which broke my tail bone. I’ve been a group fitness, dance fitness instructor for 10 yrs and lift weights. On my feet all day at work as an RN and can hardly walk by lunch time. This pain has stopped me dead in my tracks. I’ve tried resting, pushing through it and nothing seems to help!! Best way I can describe it is my deep muscles painfully itch. Excerciss seems to help while my bloods flowing, but may increase the pain at rest. 

Please let me know if anyone can relate, what’s helped you and what differential diagnosis you’ve gotten before getting to the root  of the problem. Why are none of the docs mentioning Piriformis Syndrome??



  • Hi Ffitgirl83
    This is one of my battles and It can in deed be a very painful problem to deal with if you do have Piriformis Syndrome and several of the symptoms you have do fit that diagnose. But we are not doctors and cannot say what you have all we can do is give you our own experiences or ideas. 
    Ron is giving you gave you a link to read up on it and do so please it helped me to be able to discuss my problems with my doctor and go the right direction with treatment. 
    You asked why none of the doctors mention Piriformis Syndrome. In my experience and a Spine Doctor told me there are not many doctors who focus on that as the problem but it is getting better. My advice is get a doctor who is trained, certified and experienced in this area. Also if you do therapy the same applies to them. 
    So if you are thinking that is your problem have you discussed this with any of your doctors? What did they say if you have? 
    You will read there are more negative than positive when it comes to seeing a Chiropractor. Just me I would not let one touch me until my doctor approved it. Having one leg shorter than the other can cause problems in the pelvis and other areas. 
    I just learned something new when you wrote the following regarding there is a gene that a person has to have in order to have a autoimmune disorder. I would be interested in what the gene is called if you had that information. 
    "Rheumatologist: I do not have the gene for ankolosying spondylitis or any autoimmune disorders. Says I’m hyper mobile, and could be the cause."..... 
    If you are not happy with what direction or results you have got with your current doctors you do have the option of a second opinion. Don't let up until you get answers and please keep in touch and let us know what is happening with you.
    I use tons of ice, pain creams, stretch and check out the "blend" by typing in the top right hand corner of this page you will find it. There are some good ideas there to help with things. 
    Take care of yourself and don't give up hope. 

  • MarWinMarWin OhioPosts: 654

    @fitgirl83 I was never diagnosed with PS, but can tell you my symptoms were much the same. I too struggled with the pain for over two years. Also a low back pain sufferer for over 25 years. Now I have neither. Mostly, the differences between you and me are gender, and age (I got about 10 years on you). IF there's any hope to be had about my age, it is that I got sciatica when I was about 45, and now am almost 50. Pain free going on 2 years. Only bring that hope to provide a smidgen of hope that age should not be a determining factor. I was, am still, very fitness-minded. The unfortunate thing was I had to put my fitness on hold during the time I had sciatica. Don't get me wrong, I didn't pause that for the two years, but more like a few months closer to the end. Once I found the program I wanted to do, and I tried them all, I then discovered I should pause lifting and impact exercises for a while. 

    I have a few comments in response to some of your bullet points: 

    Misaligned Hips and One Leg Shorter: Pelvic misalignments are very common most likely due to excessive sitting habits as well as limited movement habits (poor posture habits). I was told I had one leg shorter, but then found I had one hip higher (which made the leg appear shorter). Additionally I had a rotated pelvis and anterior tilted pelvis - very common in athletic types. 

    Bulging Discs: This is actually the last thing I found out about myself very soon before my sciatica started. It finally made sense as to why I had low back pain for so long (I went to the ER for kidney stones, they took an xray, and told me all my lumbar discs were bulging). It seemed about a few weeks later I started noticing my first symptoms of sciatica (always had the LBP). 

    Ankolosying Spondylitis: Are you saying you have an excessive curve, but that the doc said you do not have the gene? Being an RN, I wonder if you bend forward at the low back a lot to help your bedded patients and the same when working on the computer? Just curious...

    What I found in me was that I had all these joint misalignments because I had muscle imbalances. Because of the imbalances I was not able to do any weight resistance training. Doing so would have only further strengthened the imbalances and prolonged the pain and made it worse. I further learned that muscle imbalances can cause the bones to shift into misalignment and put pressure directly on the nerves or to the muscles or to the vertebral discs. In my case, partly, the lumbar vertebrae were compressing the discs causing them to bulge and the bulge was impinging the nerve. The same can be true for the piriformis....if your hips are misaligned it can inflame the muscle and in turn irritate the sciatic nerve that runs near or through the muscle (everyone is different). 

    Hope that gives you some alternative ways to think about your pain! 

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