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The pear-shaped muscle is one of the muscles that belongs to the lower limb. It belongs to the group of the posterior dorsal muscles of the iliac girdle and its role is to take part in the outward turning, straightening and abduction of the thigh. It happens that some people may develop piriformis syndrome - what is it, what are its symptoms and how can it be treated?

Piriformis musclegot its name in the 16th century - it was then that this structure was first referred to by the Italian scientist Adriaan van der Spiegel. As you can easily guess, the name of the muscle comes from its shape.

Pear muscle: location

The pear-shaped muscle belongs to the dorsal muscles of the iliac girdle, more precisely to their posterior group. It begins on the pelvic surface of the sacrum in the vicinity of the sacral openings. Its end trailer is located on the greater trochanter of the femur. In general, the pear-shaped muscle is located under the gluteal great muscle.

Pear Muscle: Features

The pear muscle is responsible for movements in the thigh. He is involved in its outward rotation (external rotation), but also in abduction and extension of the thigh.

Knowledge of the functions of the pear-shaped muscles is so important that in the event of any disturbances in the mobility of the lower limb, it is possible to suspect which exactly of its muscles might have been damaged.

A group of symptoms that is associated with a dysfunction of the piriformis muscle is known as the piriform syndrome.

Pirate Syndrome: Causes

At the outset, it is worth adding here what is the relationship between the pear-shaped muscle and the sciatic nerve - the mentioned nerve most often runs under this muscle, and sometimes even the sciatic nerve breaks through the pear-shaped muscle itself.

This information is important primarily because the pear-shaped muscle syndrome is associated with, among others, with pressure on the sciatic nerve by the pear-shaped muscle.

The causes of the piriformis syndrome can be really different - the most common are:

  • lumbar discopathy,
  • degeneration of the hip joint,
  • aseptic necrosis of the head of the boneiliac,
  • injuries (hip or buttock),
  • increase in the tone of the pear-shaped muscle (related to e.g. the patient having a stroke),
  • posture defects,
  • complications after hip surgery,
  • significant, sudden weight gain (possible, for example, in pregnant women).

It is worth mentioning that sometimes the pear-shaped muscle syndrome occurs in athletes, incl. in people who train intensively.

Piriform syndrome: symptoms

The symptoms associated with the problem are usually so severe that it is difficult for the patient to overlook them. Possible symptoms of the piriformis syndrome include:

  • limitation of lower limb movements (the patient has difficulty straightening and abducting the thigh),
  • characteristic, slightly forced position of the lower limb at rest in external rotation,
  • pain felt in the buttocks, which may radiate towards the thigh (due to these symptoms, the piriformis syndrome is sometimes confused with sciatica),
  • unusual sensation, such as tingling,
  • swelling and tenderness of the pear-shaped muscle.

The symptoms of piriformis syndrome tend to worsen when you are resting, especially while sitting. It is also characteristic of the problem that the pain may decrease in intensity while walking (especially when the patient puts the tip of the foot outwards while walking).

Pirate Muscle Syndrome: Diagnostics

If the piriformis syndrome is suspected, various examinations may be performed, but the most important is a physical examination, i.e. a physical examination. During it, the muscle strength is assessed, as well as the range of mobility within the joints of the lower limb.

You may also be asked to lie on your stomach and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle. Then he is asked to resist attempts by a physician to move his limb, who will perform internal rotation in the hip joint - when pain occurs during such attempts, it may indicate a dysfunction of the pear-shaped muscle.

If there are any doubts as to the cause of the patient's complaints, additional tests may be performed. Such are, among others Ultrasound of the pear-shaped muscle or X-ray of the hips, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the lumbar spine or hip joint structures.

Pirate Syndrome: Treatment

When discussing the treatment of the piriformis syndrome, you should first of all pay attention toone aspect: symptomatic and causal treatment can be distinguished here.

The first of these is based on administering various substances to the patient, thanks to which it will be possible to reduce the unpleasant ailments that torment him. For this purpose, the following may be used: anti-inflammatory drugs or painkillers administered orally or by injection directly into the pear-shaped muscle.

Appropriate symptomatic treatment is very important for patients, but ultimately, causal treatment is more important - addressing the cause of the problem reduces the risk that the symptoms of piriformis syndrome will recur. For example, people with pear-shaped dysfunction due to discopathy may require surgery.

Physiotherapy is also recommended for patients who develop piriformis syndrome. Regular exercise is especially important for those patients who have had the problem with the pear-shaped muscle being damaged as a result of the patient's experience of some trauma.

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