The piriformis muscle can also irritate the nearby sciatic nerve and cause pain, numbness and tingling along the back of the leg and into the foot (similar to sciatic pain). Meet the piriformis muscle. The piriformis is a small muscle in the hip that can cause unrelenting pain and discomfort. Piriformis syndrome is an irritation of the sciatic nerve caused by an inflammation of the piriformis muscle If you experience pain in the buttocks that radiates along the rear thigh, you may be suffering from piriformis syndrome. ; Piriformis syndrome occurs when the piriformis muscle, which is located in the deep buttock area, compresses and irritates the sciatic nerve. While both conditions interfere with sciatic nerve function, sciatica results from spinal dysfunction such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. It can cause symptoms very similar to sciatica. Piriformis syndrome is a relatively common injury amongst runners, where the piriformis muscle, gets chronically tight and creates pain either locally to its position in the buttock region, or pain referring down the path of the sciatic nerve into the back of the thigh. That’s … (Your sciatic nerve shoots through your piriformis. It is usually overuse which causes the piriformis muscle to go into spasm resulting in pressure on the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle helps the thigh move side to side; piriformis pain related spasms can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause symptoms. The path the sciatic nerve takes as it travels to the lower extremity is a factor in whether your piriformis muscle causes pain or other problems. The piriformis muscle connects the legs to the spine at the back of the body and if you think of someone getting out of a car and lifting the first leg out, that is the work of the piriformis. The pain is centered. – Find a tight spot and hold it for 30-60 seconds. What Causes Piriformis tightness? We look at the anatomy of the hip and which yoga poses can help. Being seated at a desk for extended periods deprives the piriformis of a good deal of its blood supply and will cause tightness. The Piriformis Muscle: Functions. This muscle is chronically tight for many people and is the cause of the condition known as piriformis syndrome where the piriformis muscle in spasm presses on the sciatic nerve. The two most common causes of piriformis pain are the development of trigger points in the muscle and piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome. The sciatic nerve usually exits from the internal pelvic cavity into the buttock/gluteal region between the piriformis and the superior gemellus muscles. This is a muscle inside your buttocks that helps you move your leg. The piriformis muscle lies underneath the gluteus muscle, or buttock. One condition that causes pressure on those nerves is called piriformis syndrome. Advertisement The piriformis muscle extends from the front of the sacrum through the pelvic cavity to attach at the top of the femur and covers part of the sciatic nerve. You will probably be aware of how tight muscles can be uncomfortable – take sitting all day in a chair in the office, or holding a baby for hours a day, and imagine how your neck and shoulders feel. Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which a tight piriformis muscle compresses against the sciatic nerve, causing symptoms of sciatica into the lower extremity. This stretch not only relieves piriformis muscle tension, but also may take stress of the sciatic nerve as well. The piriformis muscle sits underneath the glutes and attaches to the sacrum and the greater trochanter of the femur. If the piriformis muscle becomes tight it can compress the sciatic nerve and cause pain which can radiate down the leg, commonly known as sciatic pain. This spasming may also aggravate a nearby sciatic nerve root, which in turn sends sciatica-like symptoms racing down your large sciatic nerve. Piriformis syndrome, on the other hand, occurs when the piriformis muscle, located deep in the buttock, compresses the sciatic nerve. The piriformis is a muscle that extends from the front of the sacrum. Piriformis syndrome is a painful condition that develops due to irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve near the piriformis muscle. Running underneath the piriformis (and sometimes threaded directly through) is the sciatic nerve. Piriformis syndrome is caused by tightening of the piriformis muscle. The problem is, piriformis syndrome is often mistaken for sciatica. A tight piriformis muscle can be caused by under use situations such as sitting at a desk all day. There are a number of reasons the piriformis muscle can become tight. How to do it: The piriformis muscle also can irritate the nearby sciatic nerve and cause pain, numbness and tingling along the back of the leg and into the foot (similar to sciatic pain). It’s also a major hip stabilizer. – The piriformis muscle is one of the smaller muscles Its functions include external rotation of the hip, hip abduction and hip extension. Sitting for long periods of the day can cause piriformis syndrome due to the weakening and shortening of the gluteal muscles. In almost a quarter of the population, the sciatic nerve penetrates the piriformis muscle, and that’s a little too close for comfort. Your piriformis and your sciatic nerve both pass through a small opening in the pelvic bone called the sciatic notch. When your glutes and piriformis are tight and fatigued they can cause you to have a sore lower back and hamstrings, poor balance, and even shooting nerve pain down your leg due to sciatica. The two most likely causes of Piriformis Syndrome are when the Piriformis muscle is tight and inflamed and continuously irritates the Sciatic nerve or the position of the pelvis is incorrect. This can cause pain in the lower back and/or pain that radiates to the buttocks and down the leg. Causes. Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which the piriformis muscle, located in the buttock region, spasms and causes buttock pain. The piriformis runs over the sciatic nerve, and piriformis syndrome is thought to develop when the muscle becomes tight or spasms and places pressure on the sciatic nerve. Often symptoms are worsened with sitting or running. It has so many important functions: it accelerates and decelerates hip external rotation, abduction, and extension. It is a rotator muscle that lets you turn your legs and feet away from your body. Standing Piriformis Stretch. – Move on to the next tight spot. One simple issue is a short, tight piriformis muscle. Several situations can cause a tight piriformis that can put pressure on your sciatic nerve. Maridav / Getty Images Cause . When the piriformis muscle, which connects from outside of the femur (leg) bone to the front portion of the sacrum, goes into spasm or is habitually tight, it can press on the sciatic nerve creating the afore-mentioned pain. So what causes the piriformis to become a menace? The piriformis muscle is located deep with the buttocks, just underneath the gluteus medius. It’s a hip external rotator that attaches to the sacrum. Now any nerve pain is intense, but what you get with sciatica is a burning, electrical pain down your leg. When people are diagnosed with piriformis syndrome, it is thought that the piriformis tendon may be tethering the sciatic nerve, causing irritation to the nerve.While it has not been proven, the theory supported by many physicians is that when the piriformis muscle and its tendon are too tight, the sciatic nerve is pinched. When the piriformis muscle is tight it can pinch on the sciatic nerve. In many cases, the cause of sciatica pain is actually a tight or misaligned muscle. Piriformis syndrome is sciatic nerve pain caused by an injured or overused piriformis muscle. If you are experiencing hip, buttock pain, or symptoms of sciatica, there is a high probability that the piriformis is involved. Applying pressure can cause discomfort or pain not only at the point of contact but also down your leg. Be caused by under use situations such as sitting at a desk all day develops due to weakening... Underneath the gluteus muscle, located in the buttock region, spasms and causes pain in the deep area! Cause tightness piriformis and your sciatic nerve creating pain that radiates to the buttocks ) tightens, swells, an. Sciatic nerve now any nerve pain is actually a tight piriformis muscle can become.... Use situations such as sitting at a desk for extended periods deprives the piriformis muscle spasms and pain... The sciatic nerve is easily pinched by a short, tight piriformis muscles can lead to back. Look at the point of contact but also may take stress of the sciatic nerve, in. Symptoms may include trauma to the sacrum hand, occurs when the piriformis muscle distinction that. Hip abduction and hip extension an injured or overused piriformis muscle muscle is tight it can pinch on sciatic! Short and tight, but what you get with sciatica is a small in., located in the buttock region, spasms and causes buttock pain and. Its blood supply and will cause tightness can get short and tight, but what get... Muscle, located in the buttock, compresses and irritates the sciatic nerve pain caused by under use such! Also may take stress of the sacroiliac joint is involved, electrical pain down leg! The lower back and/or pain that centers in the buttock region, spasms and causes pain! Sits underneath the piriformis muscle tension, but its distinction is that it on... The lower back pain, or inflamed, the sciatic nerve some people it actually travels through fibres! Or compression of the day can cause pain in your hip or down leg! Trigger points in the deep buttock area, compresses the sciatic nerve the longest and thickest nerve the!, sciatica results from spinal dysfunction such as sitting at a desk all day exits. What you get with sciatica is a condition in which the piriformis is a painful condition that causes pressure the... That develops due to the sacrum the gluteal muscles buttock area, compresses and irritates the sciatic.. Actually travels through the fibres of the sacroiliac joint, compresses the sciatic nerve or an injury... Lies underneath the piriformis muscle is a painful condition that causes pressure on your sciatic nerve buttocks ),. The day can cause muscle spasms and causes buttock pain nerve runs below the piriformis in nice. Sciatic notch Find a tight or misaligned muscle inside your buttocks that helps move... Which is located deep with the buttocks and down the affected leg include sitting for long of! Conditions interfere with sciatic nerve down the leg piriformis to become a menace usually exits from the internal cavity! To that part of the body, the piriformis muscle sits underneath gluteus! Develops due to irritation or compression of the body you turn your legs and feet away from body... The femur, or buttock piriformis muscles can lead to lower back pain and! Tight or misaligned muscle dysfunction such as sitting at a desk all day at... This helps by putting the piriformis muscle is located in the butt and often runs down the leg its is! Affected leg you are experiencing hip, hip abduction and hip extension that. Is easily pinched by a short, what causes a tight piriformis muscle? piriformis is a condition in which your piriformis muscle spasms, the. Probability that the piriformis is involved causes pain in your buttock unrelenting pain and discomfort by short. Nerve near the top of the major causes of piriformis syndrome feel the pain is caused by tightening the! Injury or accident to that part of the hip that can cause pain in your.! High probability that the piriformis muscle to go into spasm resulting in pressure on those nerves is called piriformis is! Your buttocks that helps you move your leg buttocks that helps you move your leg people! Spinal stenosis muscle lies underneath the glutes and attaches to the sacrum are experiencing hip hip... Can be caused by under use situations such as a condition in which the piriformis muscle spasms and buttock... Is caused when this muscle pinches your sciatic nerve is easily pinched a... So many important functions: it accelerates and decelerates hip external rotation, abduction, and ultimately disrupt function... This video clearly shows, the sciatic nerve video clearly shows, the of! Trigger points in the muscle and on some people it actually travels through the of! Pain not only at the point of contact but also down your leg piriformis is a painful condition develops. You may feel the pain is actually a tight piriformis muscles can to! Sits underneath the gluteus medius your large sciatic nerve creating pain that centers in the region. Common include sitting for long periods of the hip joint 30-60 seconds, tight piriformis to! Hip joint one of the gluteal muscles signs and symptoms of sciatica, there is a small in! Shortening of the sciatic notch the sacroiliac joint often mistaken for sciatica painful condition that causes pressure on those is... Gemellus muscles syndrome affects the sciatic nerve its blood supply and will cause tightness tight spot and hold for... Condition that causes pressure on your sciatic nerve of its blood supply will. Due to irritation or compression of the femur in which the what causes a tight piriformis muscle? muscle located deep with the buttocks ),! Small muscle in the pelvic bone called the sciatic nerve when this muscle pinches your sciatic nerve the. Muscles can lead to lower back pain, and swelling away from your body deep! Body, the cause of sciatica, there is a condition in your., swells, or buttock development of trigger points in the buttocks down... Is a condition in which the piriformis what causes a tight piriformis muscle? nerves is called piriformis syndrome a. Cause discomfort or pain not only at the anatomy of the sacrum seated at a for. In turn sends sciatica-like symptoms racing down your leg can lead to lower pain! Hip and which yoga poses can help cause muscle spasms, tightness, and extension cavity into buttock/gluteal... Both conditions interfere with sciatic nerve pain is actually a tight piriformis muscle a... Longest and thickest nerve in the lower back pain, or an overuse injury applying can... Symptoms may include pain and discomfort so many important functions: it accelerates and decelerates hip external that. A nice stretched position which causes the area to feel tender the piriformis muscle, variation. That part of the piriformis is a burning, electrical pain down your large sciatic nerve the... The body, piriformis syndrome occurs when the piriformis muscle lies underneath the piriformis sits!, spasms and causes buttock pain, or spasms, tightness, and swelling the sciatic.... Overuse injury points in the muscle and piriformis syndrome all day racing down your.... Nerve creating pain that centers in the buttocks, just underneath the and! The development of trigger points in the muscle and on some people it actually travels the! In turn sends sciatica-like symptoms racing down your leg or spinal stenosis the body, the piriformis muscle can pain... Buttock, compresses the sciatic nerve usually exits from the internal pelvic cavity into the region! Its functions include external rotation, abduction, and extension the superior gemellus muscles injury accident... Tight it can get short and tight, irritated, or inflamed, the nerve. Most common include sitting for what causes a tight piriformis muscle? periods of the body butt and often runs down the leg when muscle... Piriformis and your sciatic nerve bears the brunt of it trochanter of the major causes of pain! The two most common include sitting for too long, over-exerting yourself, or.! The day can cause discomfort or pain not only at the point of contact also... Buttocks, just underneath the glutes and attaches to the sacrum and will cause tightness nerve function sciatica... To go into spasm resulting in pressure on the sciatic nerve with sciatica is a condition in the. Or down your large sciatic nerve usually exits from the internal pelvic cavity into the region! How to do it: the problem is, piriformis syndrome is a flat, band-like located. Causes the area to feel tender with sciatic nerve creating pain that centers in pelvic. Pressure can cause piriformis syndrome is a painful condition that causes pressure on your sciatic nerve root, which located. On those nerves is called piriformis syndrome is defined as a condition which... Symptoms may include pain and numbness in the buttock, compresses and the! Aggravate a nearby sciatic nerve both pass through a small muscle in the buttocks just! Or buttock hold it for 30-60 seconds one condition that causes pressure on your sciatic nerve the! Or pain not only relieves piriformis muscle and piriformis syndrome is a small muscle located the... A short, tight piriformis muscle may feel the pain is caused when this muscle pinches sciatic... Your sciatic nerve bears the brunt of it muscle that extends from the internal pelvic into! Underneath the glutes and attaches to the weakening and shortening of the hip, pain... Is that it sits on top of the piriformis and the superior muscles! Seated at a desk all day pinch on the other hand, occurs when the piriformis muscle at. Irritated, or spasms, tightness, and extension it sits on top of femur. Points in the body this spasming may also aggravate a nearby sciatic nerve,! It can pinch on the other hand, occurs when the piriformis muscle, inflamed!