“Oh no!” It is the acute or chronic sensation of pain, heat or cold, numbness, weakness, “electric shocks” or strange sensations, beginning near the buttocks and moving down the legs. You have sciatica, and all you know is that it can be excruciating. Sciatica can originate in the brain, back, or where you sit, as a result of nerve problems in the back or trapped nerves in the pelvis or buttocks. What causes the pain is just as varied and potentially confusing. The disorder is often due to a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or piriformis syndrome, a commonly misdiagnosed compression of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle. Here we are going to tell you how to self-diagnose if you have piriformis syndrome.
If you’re wondering if you have piriformis syndrome, there’s a lot you can do to diagnose yourself at home. First, is the pain worse when sitting? Do you have pain, numbness, and/or weakness in your buttocks, back of your leg, or both? Without such pain and discomfort, you can rule out piriformis syndrome. Then, if you press on each buttock muscle, just above the middle of your cheek, and you have pain on one or both sides, that’s another indication that you have piriformis syndrome. Sometimes you can feel the muscle spasm there. If you don’t feel any pain, tenderness, or discomfort with this pressure, you probably don’t have the problem, although there are some exceptions to this rule. The third is the classic “straight leg raise test.” To do this, you will need someone to help you. First, you lie on your back on a hard surface. Next, the person helping you will raise your legacy one at a time. While this is being done, you should let this person know where you feel pain and at what angle you feel it. If the angle is between 30 and 60 degrees and the pain is in the back, it often indicates irritation of the nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve. Bending the knee while the leg is still raised should ease the pain. If this doesn’t relieve the pain, the problem is probably in the hip. If the pain is in the back of the knee and occurs at the same angle in both legs, you may not have anything more serious than tight hamstrings. However, if piriformis syndrome is present, this test should cause more pain on the more affected side.
Below we will explain how to perform the FAIR test at home. A Norwegian surgeon named Solheim created a simple form of this test, without an EMG machine, and is commonly known as the Solheim Test. First, lie on your side on the floor, painful side up. Next, lower the knee of the leg on that side to the floor, without turning and without looking down. A friend can do that part and the next. Now press your knee down and move your ankle up, more or less using your leg as a crank to turn your hip joint counterclockwise (to the left) and clockwise. clockwise (clockwise). If you feel pain, you may have Piriformis Syndrome.
There is also a test called the Paces Test, which also requires the help of a friend. Assume the same position as at the start of the Solheim test. Raise the bent leg. Your friend should now try seriously, but not too vigorously, to keep it down. Once your leg is in the air, keep it there. If you are weaker on one side than the other, that is another indication that you may be suffering from Piriformis Syndrome. If you experience severe abnormalities while doing these tests, you may want to see your doctor for the full version of Fair Test with an EMG machine.
A conventional X-ray will not show piriformis syndrome, nor will any standard MRI or EMG. However, piriformis muscle spasm can affect the sciatic nerve and can damage or even cut some of its fibers, and an EMG can detect that damage.
The various types of exertion that might have caused piriformis syndrome in the first place can also make it worse or cause it to start again if it has eased. Running on a treadmill is an example of this, as is walking up steep stairs or up a hill, or lifting heavy objects for a long period of time.
Most of the time, people who have piriformis syndrome have it on one side and then on the other side as well. Pressure from the abnormally large or stiff piriformis muscle strains the sciatic nerve. The recommended physical therapy for piriformis syndrome is two to three times a week for one to three months. We sincerely hope this has made it easier to find out if you have this syndrome before spending a lot of money and time on useless doctor visits that may not tell you any more than these simple tests will. And we hope this helps you differentiate between sciatica pain and discomfort and Piriformis Syndrome.