Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome

Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome Why does it happen? How do I fix it?

The symptom of Sciatica is often due to nerve impingements or even damage, although very* rare.

The causality is usually one or several, bulging or herniated discs, which compress the sciatic nerve at the foramen from L4, L5, S1, S2 and S3. It also contains peroneal and tibial nerves, which can lead to reverberating pain below the knee.

Herniated disc, causing sciatica

This is most often caused by a direct trauma to the spine. This can also be due to herniated, bulging or slipped discs, that expands and compresses the nerve directly.

This causes symptoms of numbness, tingling or even burning, underneath the glute, at the back of the leg, and even to the side of the calf, towards the foot.

Due to these symptoms, it will often flair up, when driving. This is due to the ergonomic design of a car seat, this causes the spine to stay in a convex curve.

This causes the vertebrae in the spine to shift the majority of their weight into the front of the disc, further compressing the vulnerable nerves.

The ideal thing to rectify this issue, is to put a pillow in between your shoulder blades. What this does, is realigns your thoracic spine, as your T-spine has 12 vertebral bodies, it has a major impact as to how the other section of your spine react.

Now the pillow or piece of clothing, should be narrow enough to fit in between the shoulder blades. If you're wondering "well, why wouldn't I put it behind my lower back?" The reality is, this often aggravates the issue, as it accentuates the curve of your Lumbar spine, thus affecting your thoracic spine.


The majority of the information towards addressing the symptoms, involves icing the area. Through experience this hasn't shown to be of any benefit in the long run.

Depending on the severity of the herniated disc, sciatica can be alleviated by addressing the muscles in the lower back.

This enables for the muscles to act as a guiding rode to enable the disc to slowly realign, this also done in adjunction to resetting of the standing posture.

This is best done with a Foundational Movement Therapist, as they can help educate the client into better understanding how to correctly implement optimal walking and standing mechanics.

Over time after the correct habit is ingrained, the disc will progressively shift back into alignment.

Visiting an Acupuncturist will also aid as well, as they help with the amount of inflammation, in and around the spine.

The acupuncturist or Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, will often aid the nerve in signalling the way it needs to, even while being compressed.

Our DTCMs (Doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine), often won't even need to need the around the spine, or the spine itself.

Depending on where the inflamed disc resides, it can be addressed by a numerous amount of different points all around the body!

As for Piriformis syndrome, this is caused by the muscles rather than the vertebrae in the spine.

This is often from individuals that walk and stand with their feet pointed outwards. This causes the muscles in the hips (underneath the glute), to shorten especially after this habit has been prolonged for years.

It can also be due to the shortening of the hamstring muscles, the biceps femoris. When this muscle is chronically shortened often due to years of prolonged sitting. It begins to swell with blood, due to lack of circulation within that system. The swelling then causes the biceps femoris to expand and compress the sciatic nerve.

Often falling in the category of sciatica, this should be considered piriformis syndrome, as the muscle causes the compression as opposed to the discs in the vertebrae.

Sciatica or piriformis syndrome. Sciatic nerve

As the Piriformis with it's band of misfits, "The external rotators", the gemellus,obturator and piriformis, shorten. The more they shorten the more they swell with blood flood pooling and stagnation.

In turn, they swell to the point they cause the sciatic nerve to become impinged, thus leading to numbness, tingling and burning below the glute.

The same process can also happen to the hamstring, the muscle in the back of the thigh. Often very short from constantly sitting, it can also play a large role in impinging the sciatic nerve.

If you are currently suffering from either symptoms, visit: to schedule an appointment with a practitioner.

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