Acupuncture for Piriformis Syndrome can help because it can reduce inflammation and improve local micro circulation, thereby reducing muscle stiffness.
Piriformis Syndrome comes about because the sciatic nerve is entrapped as it exits the greater sciatic notch in the buttock area.
There are a number of associated symptoms such as deep aching pain in the buttock and thigh.
This pain can also be aggravated by sitting and walking, In addition, numbness and tingling may radiate to below the knee and foot.
Females are more prone to Piriformis Syndrome by a factor of 6:1.
What can cause Piriformis Syndrome?
Long, prolonged periods of sitting in conjunction with inappropriate posture can lead to a tightening of the piriformis muscle. Sports people who over do exercise without adequate warm up and stretching are also prone to this condition. Scott Pearson of the Newtown Acupuncture Centre, opposite Wellington hospital says “Piriformis Syndrome can be classified in Chinese medicine as Yao Tui Tong. A person who is deplete in energy and blood is more prone to an injury. Aging tends to lead to malnourishment of the sinews and hence a predisposition to an injury.”
Why do more females get Piriformis Syndrome?
From a western medical perspective, they do not really know. In traditional Chinese medical thought, the liver, spleen and kidneys can all play a role. Scott Pearson says “When the liver energy gets stuck, then the blood of the liver can’t nourish the sinews. In other cases, if the spleen energy is weak, the body is not able to produce adequate blood. And finally, as we approach the thirties and forties, there is general depletion of kidney energy (qi) and blood all compounding the problem. Because women menstruate they are more prone to blood depletion than men. This may explain why women are more prone to Piriformis Syndrome.”
Can acupuncture help the underlying weakness often accompanied with the Piriformis Syndrome?
Traditional acupuncture always has the goal of treating the root of the problem. Why did the body get this injury? Could it have been prevented? What other signs and symptoms may be present? We ask Scott Pearson how he approaches the treatment of Piriformis syndrome, “In addition to targeting the acupuncture to help the pain and so forth, other acupuncture points can be selected to improve the energy and blood or to balance yin and yang. Many patients during the course of their treatment report that symptoms like tiredness, headaches, sleep and digestive issues can all improve. This is why acupuncture can get such good results with the treatment of injuries and piriformis syndrome is no exception.“
What about the numbness and tingling sometimes associated with Piriformis Syndrome?
It is important to rule out lumbar disc herniation when making the diagnosis of Pirifomis Syndrome as they may both cause numbness. Acupuncture practitioners often do physical examination manoeuvres including those such as Beatty’s manoeuver and the Mirkin test to help verify the diagnosis.
Matt Callison will be presenting a special seminar on low back and leg pain in Auckland June 2015 for members of the New Zealand Register of Acupuncturists Inc. It will include discussion on Piriformis Syndrome.