Are You Suffering From Sciatica Or Is It Piriformis Syndrome ?

Posted on: 28 June 2016

If you have been involved in an auto accident, it is not unusual to have some type of lower back, hip, or leg pain. This pain is often caused by inflammation in your muscles that follows the blunt force injury that is inflicted by the accident. However, there is a possibility that you may be suffering from sciatica. Although this is a very common condition that can occur at any point in life, an auto accident is one of the primary causes. Your medical doctor will be able to give you a specific diagnosis, but here are a few things you may want to know about this condition.


Sciatica is a very common condition that affects approximately 3 million people in the US each year. It normally occurs when inflammation, a herniated disk, or bone spurs put pressure on the sciatic nerve. All of these conditions can be caused by a car accident, as well as the following:

  • Blunt force trauma
  • Repetitive exercises
  • Pregnancy
  • Diseases
  • Heavy lifting 
  • Constant sitting and more

Your sciatic nerve is the largest and longest nerve in your body, and each person has two. These nerves run from your lower spine through your hip and buttocks and all the way down each leg. While sciatica is most commonly found in people over the age of 40, it can affect anyone at any age.

The Symptoms Of Sciatica

You may experience a wide array of pain if you are suffering from sciatica. Your pain type, as well as your pain level, is often dictated by where your sciatic nerve is being pinched and how badly it is being pinched. You may experience the following:

  • Mild to severe lower back pain
  • Pain deep in your buttocks
  • Pain traveling down your legs
  • Numbness or tingling in your legs
  • Muscular weakness in your legs as well as other symptoms

You may have continuous pain, or you may experience intermittent pain such as electrical types of shocks only felt when you cough, sneeze, or attempt to use the restroom. Although you may think you have the signs and symptoms of sciatica, you could actually have another condition called Piriformis Syndrome.

Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis Syndrome is another condition that may cause you to have pain in your hip, buttocks, or legs. This condition is caused by the inflammation or injury of the piriformis muscle that is located behind your glueteus maximus muscle in your buttocks.

In addition to being a separate condition, inflammation in this area can also be a contributing cause of your sciatica. This condition can also be easily caused by a car accident or anything else that causes injury or irritation to the hip joint or to the piriformis muscle itself.

Symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome symptoms most commonly present as a dull ache or tenderness that is centralized in your buttocks region. You may feel an increase in pain when walking up inclines or steps or after sitting for extended periods of time.

The primary diagnostic difference between the two is that the pain from piriformis syndrome can most often be identified during an exam by moving your hip, localized tenderness and a loss of muscle strength. Because piriformis syndrome can cause sciatica, you may also experience the signs and symptoms of sciatica in addition to those of piriformis syndrome. 

The Treatment For Your Condition

Because both conditions may caused by irritation and inflammation, which could have taken place during your accident, the initial course of treatment will often involve ways to reduce these contributing factors. This course of treatment may range from advising you to apply alternating ice and heat every few hours to the area where you are experiencing the inflammation to anti-inflammatory drugs or oral steroids. Depending on how bad your pain is, they may also prescribe pain medication or muscle relaxants. 

In addition to the treatment being provided by your primary care physician, your doctor may also refer you to others for treatment. These other professionals may include the following:

  • Chiropractors
  • Physical therapists
  • Pain management specialists or others

These are all professionals who have advanced training in ways that may help to provide you with pain relief.

If you have been involved in an auto accident and you are experiencing any type of pain, the first thing that you need to do is to seek medical treatment, such as from Smith Chiropractic. While you may be tempted to wait for your pain to get better, you could possibly make your condition worse during the time that you are waiting.