By WIN Contributor:  Phil Rowland, RMT, ART provider, Certified Personal Trainer

Often, when a person complains of hip and back pain, the go-to diagnosis is sciatica. Sciatica is actually a very specific source of pain and refers to an irritation of the sciatic nerve. “True” sciatica is a compression of one or more of its nerve roots due to a disc herniation or spinal degeneration in the lower lumbar region. Spasms, sharp pain or numbness can be felt in the hip and buttock area and may extend down the entire leg to the ankle and foot.

What you may be experiencing is Piriformis Syndrome or “Pseudo-Sciatica” (meaning “false sciatica”). The piriformis is a deep stabilizer muscle within the iliac (pelvic) crest in charge of laterally rotating and abducting the hip. Pain is due to the piriformis muscles compressing the sciatic nerve which passes thru or under the muscle, mimicking the symptoms of sciatica. Prolonged sitting, such as a day at a computer or driving, and repetitive motion like cycling and running are the most common causes of inflammation in the piriformis. Next time you are at your desk or driving focus on straightening your feet and avoid externally rotating as seen with the right feet here. This will allow the piriformis muscle to relax.

Visit WIN Niagara Falls Massage Therapy and get solutions from your Registered Massage Therapist about treating your piriformis muscle.  With some deep tissue massage and stretching, and using home care strategies we can help you relieve that pain in your butt.