Piriformis Syndrome | Treatment

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How is piriformis syndrome treated?

Most people who have piriformis syndrome get better with treatment and lifestyle changes. Failure to treat this condition can lead to permanent nerve damage, so be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Self-care tips for piriformis syndrome include the following:

  • Temporarily stop doing activities that cause pain, such as running or bicycling.
  • If you have to sit for a long period of time, take regular breaks to walk around and stretch.
  • Use cold packs and warm packs. Start by using a cold pack on the affected area several times a day for about 15 minutes at a time. After using a cold pack for a couple of days, switch to a warm pack or heating pad. If you continue to have pain, alternate between a cold pack and a warm pack.
  • Take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (also called an NSAID), such as ibuprofen (two brand names: Advil, Motrin), aspirin or naproxen (one brand name: Aleve), to help relieve your pain. You can also take acetaminophen (brand name: Tylenol) for pain relief.
  • Do exercises to stretch the piriformis muscle. Your doctor can give you information about what stretches will help.
  • Massage the affected area.

If your pain doesn’t get better with self-treatment, your doctor may inject a steroid medicine where the piriformis muscle and the sciatic nerve meet. This may help reduce your pain.

If you have severe piriformis syndrome, you may need surgery to relieve the pressure on your sciatic nerve.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/11
Created: 11/09

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