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Answer to your Health Question


I have upper buttock pain aggravated by sitting, getting up and activity can worsen the symptoms.

Generally one sided pain

Long drives in the car result in the accelerator foot being flexed for long periods, resulting in more pain.



Dear Dan,

Piriformis syndrome to date remains the most misdiagnosed and easily treatable causes of sciatica pain.

Most commonly this syndrome is confused with a more serious nerve compression or lumbar disc herniation.
Causes of Piriformis syndrome are over usage or repetitive injury, hormonal changes, postural abnormalities and increased inactivity in a chair

The reason increased inactivity in a chair can cause the symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome is that over time the muscle will shorten from its constant shortened position sitting.

Once the muscle has become physiologically shorter you will lose range of motion in the area and experience tightness and discomfort.

Although the cause and treatment of Piriformis Syndrome is very straightforward, this is a commonly misdiagnosed problem.

One indicator that will help clue in your doctor is a test you can even try yourself.

When lying on your back, look down at your feet. If the leg in question is rotated outward , that is a good indicator the Piriformis is in spasm (this is known as the positive Piriformis sign).

Stretching and home treatment is important for this condition.

Take Calcium supplements - if you suffer from recurrent muscle spasms you may be deficient in Calcium.

As always, remember to stay hydrated, and stretch before and after exercising.

The following are some simple stretching exercises that will keep the muscle in form:

+ The Lotus Posture - Sitting in a position in which each ankle rests on the opposite thigh is one of the best ways in which to stretch the piriformis muscle. If this posture is difficult initially, sitting cross legged can also achieve a similar stretch.

+ The Chair Stretch - When seated on a chair, place the ankle of the right foot on the left knee. Push downward slightly on the knee, till you feel the stretch. Repeat for the opposite side.

+ The Lying Stretch - Lie flat on your back, then place your right ankle on your left knee, and slowly lift or pull your left foot towards your body, while pushing gently on the bent knee. Hold position, and then repeat for the opposite side.

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