You’re back home after a tedious day at work and you sit on the couch, sipping a hot coffee. Suddenly, you feel a dull pain in the buttock region or on the back of your thighs.
Don’t think that it’s a common pain that can be alleviated with a balm.
You might be suffering from piriformis syndrome.
What is piriformis syndrome?
Piriformis syndrome is a painful condition that affects the piriformis muscles in the buttock region.
Proper treatment and early diagnosis help alleviate pain due to piriformis syndrome. A better understanding of this disease helps you diagnose it on time.
Piriformis muscles are located in the buttock, adjacent to the top of the hip joint. They start at the lower body and connects to the upper part of the thigh bone. These flat and band-like muscles play a crucial in the movement of the lower body.
Piriformis muscle enables us to walk by stabilizing the hip joint and lifting and rotating the thigh away from the body. That is, you need the help of these muscles for almost every movement of lower hips and legs.
There are certain nerves called sciatica nerves that go through the piriformis muscles and end in the feet.
Piriformis syndrome occurs when these sciatic muscles are compressed by the piriformis muscles. The compression is caused by spasms in the piriformis muscles. This is a painful experience for patients. They may not be able to walk properly.
In short, piriformis syndrome hurts your buttock region and legs.
What causes piriformis syndrome?
Muscle spasms in the piriformis muscles due to irritation in the piriformis muscles or in the surrounding areas like sacroiliac joint and hip is a common cause of piriformis syndrome.
Also, injuries to the piriformis muscles can develop this condition. Piriformis syndrome is often associated with repetitive actions of the body.
For instance, running long distances or engaging in heavy sports activities may result in this condition.
Piriformis syndrome is often diagnosed by looking at the patient’s history or through physical examination. In some cases, doctors might use MRI, CT, Electromyography and injection tests for diagnosis.
There are many symptoms associated with piriformis syndrome.
The pain occurs when the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatia nerves due to spasms. The muscle spasms happen when you are sitting or running.
A better understanding of the symptoms helps you seek medical help on time. Piriformis syndrome can also affect the adjacent sciatia nerves, causing pain or numbness in the back of the thigh, calf, or foot.
The major symptoms of piriformis syndrome are:
- Dull pain on the buttock
- A pain that gets severe when climbing a staircase or sitting for prolonged periods
- Tingling or numbness in the buttock region or the back of the thighs
- A severe pain that extends down the length of the sciatia nerves
- Intermittent pain
If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help without any delay.
Non-Surgical Treatment for Piriformis Syndrome Treatment in Ayurveda
Looking for treatment for piriformis syndrome?
Too often, patients with piriformis syndrome may opt for surgery as a last resort. Even after surgery, your pain may resurface at any time.
Ayurveda offers a permanent cure from piriformis syndrome without surgery.
Treatment of piriformis syndrome depends upon the chronicity of the pain.
The main symptom of piriformis syndrome is sciatic pain (pain in the route of the sciatia nerves). So, Ayurvedic treatment is administered based on the root cause of the pain.
Ayurveda uses various Panchakarma treatments to heal the pain in the piriformis muscles. Consequently, most treatments are directed at relaxing the piriformis muscles.
Let’s have a look at the most effective ayurvedic treatment methods for piriformis syndrome.
1) Cupping / Alabu
Cupping is a traditional treatment that removes stagnation and stimulates the blood flow of the body. In Ayurveda, cupping takes the form of Alabu, which is used for Rakthamoshana. That is, Alabu uses the same concept of cupping for treatment
Cupping is carried out by placing and warming cups on the affected part of the body. Generally, cups are placed on the back of the patient. Cups used for the treatment can either be plastic or glass.
Cupping is effective for patients with piriformis syndrome. It helps to ease the blood flow and thereby alleviate the pain.
A vacuum is created by warming the air inside the cup, which makes the tissues draw up into the cup. This procedure creates a therapeutic effect to boost blood flow and stimulates healing.
The patient may develop temporary bruises and soreness depending on the degree of suction created by the vacuum inside the cup. The cups are then removed. In Ayurveda, this is a prominent treatment to remove toxins from the blood.
2) Yoga Vasti
Vasti generally helps heal the pain of piriformis syndrome by detoxifying the blood. Yoga vasti is one of the panchakarma procedures in which a schedule of eight vastis with herbal decoction is used to treat the patient.
3) Choorna Pinda Sweda
This is an effective treatment for piriformis syndrome in Ayurveda.Choorna means powder, pinda is bolus and Sweda translates to sweat.
It is a sweat-inducing treatment which involves fomentation of the affected area using herbal powders that have analgesic (pain relieving), anti-inflammatory and anti- degenerative properties.
For Choorna Pinda Sweda, herbal powders are tied in a bolus after heating. The heated bolus is then rubbed over the affected parts of the body for pain relief.
Siravyadha is a treatment in Ayurveda to remove toxins from the blood. In Siravyadha, bloodletting is carried out by puncturing the skin.
Siravyadha is highly effective in curing piriformis syndrome as it helps eliminate the vitiated blood in the body and thereby reducing the pain.
How to prevent piriformis syndrome?
You can reduce the risk of piriformis syndrome by making a few changes in your lifestyle.
The best way to prevent this condition is to avoid the overuse of lower back muscles.
Stay away from activities that damage your lower back muscles. For instance, avoid running uphills or downhills as it puts a lot of pressure on your lower body
Invest some time into regular exercise. Do some stretches and yoga to keep your muscles relaxed.
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