Piriformis syndrome: More than a pain in the butt?

By September 16, 2016Physiotherapy

Piriformis syndrome, also know as “pain in the butt,” is commonly seen in individuals who spend long hours sitting. People who work at their desk all day, drive long distances and ride motorcycles can experience this discomfort. Long-distance runners, cyclists and skiers are also at high-risk.

Piriformis muscle is deep under gluteal muscles, running across the pelvis area outwards and attaching to the thigh bone. When the hip is extended, it’s an external rotator. When the hip is flexed, it’s an internal rotator. Any injury, irritation or tightness to the Piriformis muscle may lead to neurogenic symptoms down the limb.


Symptoms include pain in the buttock or hamstring area with nerve-related symptoms like pins and needles, loss of sensation and limb weakness. Symptoms can worsen due to sitting or physical activities like running. Patients often report the sensation of a pebble under the affected buttock while sitting.


  • Prolonged sitting
  • Muscle imbalance around lower back and pelvis
  • Compensation for weak gluteal muscles
  • Poor sporting technique
  • Tight hip flexors and adductors
  • Injury to the Piriformis muscle
  • Limb length discrepancy
  • Flattening of the foot causing internal rotation at hip

Treatment options

Get a proper diagnosis from Activa Physiotherapy Ottawa so we can assess your condition to prepare a suitable treatment plan to relieve your pain. Treatment may include:

  • Deep tissue massage
  • Trigger point release
  • Piriformis stretch
  • Ball release on piriformis muscle
  • Neural mobilization for sciatic nerve
  • Heat therapy for tightness
  • Stretching of hip flexors and hip adductors
  • Strengthening of weak muscles

Book your appointment today