Piriformis Syndrome & Sciatica Pain

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I am not usually the sort of person to post in these forums but I wondred if anyone could help me out. 

My partner suffered with 2 slipped disks towards the end of 2016 which took months to heal. 3 weeks ago we had to move furniture out from our old house into our new home and this has caused him to have a relapse. Unfortunately this time, his lower back isnt hurting, its a deep seated pain in his left buttock which radiates down through his leg. He is having severe difficulty getting out of bed to use the toilet and has resulted in using a walking stick to get around. He says he is feeling that the pain is worsening even though he is taking Cocodamol and Naproxin (500mg) 4 times a day with the addition of Amitriptyline (25mg) 4 times a day. Nothing seems to be working and nothing is relieving the pain. I have started to use a Tens Machine on him now so I will see if this also helps to relieve some of the pain so he can get up and walk around the house. He cant sit down as this hurts the Piriformis Muscle and Leg so the only comfy-ish position is laying in bed all day. 

What I want to ask is if the pain gets worse should I call an ambulance to take him to A&E. We are based in the UK and I know that our health system is currently suffering with people using the A&E service when it isnt really needed and we dont want to be that sort of person. Reading all the posts and websites they say that A&E isnt an option unless he starts to loose control of his bladder and bowel which thankfully isnt the case. He is just in so much pain at the moment and he cant seem to see a light at the end of the Tunnel. 

Has anyone else had Piriformis Syndrome with Sciatic Pain and receovered? If you have, how long will it take. He has already had 1 week of work and will be taking a 2nd week off after Easter but I dont think his boss will approve of him having more than 2-3 weeks off work. He is the Accountant for the company so they do need him to be there. 

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Don't know what piriformis is...I may have even had it.  However, pain in your buttock, the location of the sciatic knot, plus pain down your leg could be classic sciatica.  I have had many bouts of this over the years and have had it fixed by a chiropractor in anywhere from 10 seconds to three weeks.  I've also had luck with Voltaren Gel (RX in the US) plus a simple $30 TENS units.  Chiro can fix this...unless...

    The main cause is spine related.  Then you need a neurosurgeon.  I had bad sciatica one time caused by a bone spur literally "crushing" my sciatic nerve root at L4/L5.  Quick laminectomy with decompression fixed it in a day.  

    All that being said, you need to find the exact CAUSE of the problem.  Personally, I'd try Voltaren, TENS and chiro first.

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  • Posted

    I'm curious as to how Periformis was diagnosised. Having already had silpped discs before, periformis seems unlikely. I was wrongly diagnosised with pereformis. I had sciatica with stenosis (narrowing of the spaces between the vertabraes). However some of the pain you describe your parntner s having sounds familiar.

    Intense pain where one would have to crawl around the house. For me, at 60, it was 8 weeks off work and I also had a cane and walker when I returned. to work. And still it was another 7 months before I noticed improvement, Stretching, deep massage, physical therapy  and ascupunture helped me..I am still not 100%. This has become a buttock and thigh pain along with my feet. Hard sole shoes help when walking on hard level ground.

    The nerves have to get use to doing what and were they were intended to do.. I took Turmeric Curcumin to help lubricate te spine as i memded ended.

    Best of luck

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  • Posted

    Hello, I also have piriformis syndrome. I'm in my 6th month of excruciating pain. I can't work or even drive. My doctor just keeps giving me stronger and stronger pain killers. I have had physio therapy, acupuncture and a horrible treatment called dry needling. All paid for by myself. Nothing works and I'm getting worse as depression is now setting in. The first two hours of the day is the worse time after that I can control the pain by not sitting or lying down for more than 10 minutes at a time. My question to you is has your husband had any improvement yet? I asked my doctor to refer me to a specialist and that I was willing to pay private but he said he didn't know who to refer me to! This is crazy they can sew an arm back on but not cure me. I don't know what kind of consultant I need to find.

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    • Posted

      Hi bev

      I have wat you describe along with severe low back pain ,spend a full 24hr day from 10minutes of lay down to sitting to standing ,cant drive ,cant leave my house feels like someone tided a knot deep in each bum cheek that when I sit feels likey hips are locking forward the pain in my cheek ,over hip , omg is hell stretching makes it worse then on you tube saw the tennis ball cure for relief ,omg worse thing I did actually 3 days of even more torture ,finally I had a scan and was told it was my L4/5 needed surgery asap so waiting to go in ,when I mentioned that I thought it was just the piriformis the surgeon said that this would be effected also with nerves being crushed in spine ...

      Not looking forward to op was hoping I would wake up and it would go.like it came ...

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for replying. I also did the tennis ball trick. That put me in a whole other world of pain. I've been for an MRI that shows bulging disc but doctor said that probably wasn't causing the sciatica. I don't believe him. What kind of consultant were you refered to? I'm trying to get an appointment to ask doctor to refer me privately. Willing to pay anything to get my life back.

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    • Posted

      Yea the tennis ball hell ,would warn anyone not to do it ,the agony afterwards for days so not worth it ..

      I just know that hes a spinal surgeon and he said any bulg in disc causing preasure on nerves would cause problems psoas muscle and other muscles ,along with nerve pain sciatic nerve ...

      I hope we both get our lives back very quickly ...

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    • Posted

      Hi Bev 

      Know how you are feeling - I have been in your shoes for over a year. Have pushed to be referred to doctors who all gave me meds that made me loopy. Then I was given neurontin/Gabapentin which calms irritated nerves. Had to push for MRI showed small bulge L4-L5 and was offered pain block or Physio.  I chose Physio though I am not working and expensive. First Physio therapist was not much help. I did some research and found someone more experienced and is helping. 

      The first thing you should do is push for an MRI and if there is a problem you should be sent to a Neurosurgeon to see if you need to be operated in case of disk touching a nerve or many other possibilities. 

      It it could also be sciatica which is horribly painful and will get better with gentle Physio and Gabapentin or lyrica.  Keep going back to your doctor and push - I know they are busy but you deserve to be well and find out what is causing this. 

      Hope you will will be better soon and this will be a distant memory ;-)

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply, I have had an MRI it showed a bulge at L5/S1 (I'm learning all the jargon) had nhs physio that was rubbish. Then paid for private physio that made it worse. I've had 7 bouts of heavy duty acupuncture. Still no help. I have been on gabapentin for 8 months. I've found a private consultant and trying to get an appointment to get a referral letter. I can't go on much longer, I have been pensioned off from work and I have no quality of life. The doctor has diagnosed sciatica which is not a diagnosis as sciatica is a symptom not a condition. I wish you luck x

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  • Posted

    Hi Jay,

    I have bilateral Piriformis Syndrome. I have had it for nearly 12 months.

    The pain is unbearable. I can't sit or lay in bed. I have had physio

    and chiropractor a deep tissue massage. None of these worked.

    I struggle to walk and at work I have trouble concentrating because of the drugs.

    I don't know how to get better or who to turn to. I can't find any one in the UK who would

    preform piriformis release surgery. They do it in America.

    I just know I can't carry on like this much more. My buttocks and thighs burn like crazy

    as soon as they touch a surface.

    It has truly sucked the joy out of my life.

    I am sorry I could not help but I just wanted your partner to know that they are not alone.

    I hope we find it 😔

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    • Posted

      Hi Kelly, I was told that I most likely had piriformis syndrome after an MRI showed no reason for my sciatica. I had dry needling done at a pain clinic. Not only didn't it work but unbelievably the excruciating pain I had been in for six months got worse. I consulted a private neurosurgeon who viewed the same MRI scan and instantly saw that I had a thickened ligament at base of spine (close to my bulging disc) that had become inflamed and was pressing on my sciatic nerve. He said sciatica is not a condition but it is a symptom. He also said I was to stop doing anything that hurt I.e. trying to do those bloody exercises morning noon and night. I can only think that the NHS doctor who reviewed the MRI originally wasn't as knowledgeable or experienced as the neurosurgeon I paid to see. £200 well spent! Treatment recommended is steroid injection and if that fails I will have the operation to shave down the ligament to release the nerve. I'm told that is instant relief. I'm currently waiting for my injection in two weeks any also paying privately for that because if I had it on the NHS I would have to wait two months and I just can't take the pain anymore. I'm also weaning myself off the gabapentine and co codamol as they are wrecking me. I'm seeing my GP tomorrow to ask him for a pain patch. Apparently you have to ask for this type of pain relief! My advice to you is get a second opinion privately and then go from there. I found my neurosurgeon by googling the best neurosurgeon in the West Midlands.

      Good luck x

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