Thursday, August 22, 2013

2 Causes of Hip Pain and How to Treat Them: Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome

by
http://breakingmuscle.com/  

 The hip is a major contributor to all core work. In fact, when we first learn to sit up as babies, we rely on our hip muscles rather than the muscles of our trunk to do this. Repetitive motion like cycling, running and squatting can irritate the muscles in and around the pelvis, leading to chronic pain or limitation. Sciatica and piriformis syndrome are two conditions often presenting with similar symptoms. Here is a guide to the difference between the two as well as treatment for each.

Sciatica

Description: 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. The sciatic nerve's origin point is just at the top of the gluteal muscle in the L4 and L5 vertebrae. When inflammation occurs in this area, it can compress the sciatic nerve and send a radiating pain down the back of the leg, typically ending at the knee but potentially carrying all the way to the calf.

Piriformis Syndrome

Description: The piriformis is a deep stabilizer muscle within the iliac (pelvic) crest. (Bright red in the image to the right.) It originates at the very base of the spine and inserts at the top of the femur bone. It is often confused with the psoas, but the piriformis is smaller, deeper, and more specialized. When you feel the muscle at the front of your hip, you are likely touching the psoas as the piriformis is more on the posterior portion of the hip. Piriformis syndrome is the result of an inflammation in this muscle that presses on the sciatic nerve. The pain is often more localized in the hip and buttock where general sciatic pain tends to radiate more down the leg.

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