What is it?
Deep Gluteal Syndrome, (AKA piriformis syndrome) is literally a pain in the butt. It is a condition that is a cause for many low back complaints and is among the common causes of the well-known “sciatica” symptom. People often feel a deep dull ache/sharp/burning sensation from their glute area, which can sometimes run down the back of the leg toward the knee.
To get a more complete understanding, we can dive into the anatomy a little bit:
The sciatic nerve originates from the lower part of the spine, and travels down the back of the leg. Before it reaches the leg, it travels through the “gluteal region” or your “buttock”. There are a number of structures that affect the way the nerve rests.
One of those, is your piriformis. Colloquially, it has been described as “piriformis syndrome” where it was theorized that the piriformis muscle can tighten and put a lot of pressure on the nerve, causing the lower back pain one experiences.
How do we alleviate this nagging pain?
The good news is there are many ways we can decrease the pain in that area. Check out our video below which leads you through how we approach this condition in clinic!
- Piriformis stretch
- Foam roll method
- Lacrosse Ball Method
- Hip 90/90 stretch / drill
- Hip IR/ER PNF work
- Strengthening exercises for preventative strategies
- Not in video Active Release Technique, Medical Acupuncture, Dry Needling*
Due to the differences in everyone’s anatomy, the sciatic nerve can get “trapped” among other structures in that region (besides the piriformis muscle), so it has been renamed in the literature as “deep gluteal syndrome”.
It’s important to note that there can be other causes of this type of pain (disc pain, glute strain, tendinopathies, etc.)- this is merely the more prevalent cause. For that reason, it’s important to consult a healthcare practitioner to try to diagnose this properly and have the best action plan going forward!
Written by: Dr. Matt O’Brien, Chiropractor