Piriformis syndrome is characterized by pain along the sciatic nerve, so it is often thought that piriformis syndrome causes sciatica. But piriformis syndrome does not involve a radiculopathy (disease of nerve roots and plexuses) so it is technically not sciatica.
Whereas in piriformis syndrome, it is the piriformis muscle itself that irritates the sciatic nerve and causes sciatic pain.
Sciatica is characterized by leg pain which might feel like a bad leg cramp, or it can be excruciating, shooting pain that makes standing or sitting nearly impossible.
The pain might be worse when you sit, sneeze, or cough. Sciatica can occur suddenly or it can develop gradually.
Other causes of Sciatic Pain :
Slipped Disc: In majority of cases sciatica is caused by a herniated or "slipped" disc. This is when one of the discs that sit between the bones of the spine (the vertebrae) is damaged and presses on the nerves.
Spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another one)
Other causes include spinal stenosis (narrowing of the nerve passages in the spine), a spinal injury or infection, or a growth within the spine (such as a tumor).
Other things that may make your back pain worse include being overweight, not exercising regularly, wearing high heels, or sleeping on a mattress that is too soft.
Piriformis Syndrome: It is referred as neuritis of branches of the sciatic nerve caused by pressure of an injured or irritated piriformis muscle. Symptoms associated with piriformis syndrome typically consist of buttock pain that radiates into the hip, posterior aspect of the thigh, and the proximal portion of the lower leg.
Piriformis syndrome typically does not result in neurological deficits such as decreased deep tendon reflexes and myotomal weakness.
Primary treatment consists of self-care and non-surgical strategies. The aim is to correct the underlying problem, restore function and prevent re-occurrence.
Sciatica may resolve with rest, ice or heat, massage, pain relievers and gentle stretches. Muscle inflammation and pain can be reduced by application of an icepack for 20 minutes several times a day during the initial 2-3 days. Thereafter a hot pad may be applied to relax muscles. If the self-care exercises aren’t working within the first couple of days you must consult your doctor.
Medication: Over the counter Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can bring pain relief. Muscle relaxants may be prescribed for spasms.
Physiotherapy: A normal schedule is recommended physical therapy can help you return to full activity as soon as possible and prevent re-injury. Physiotherapists will show you proper lifting techniques / postures, walking techniques, exercises to stretch and strengthen your back muscles.
Massage, ultrasound, diathermy, heat and traction may also be recommended for some time.
Exercises for Sciatic pain from Piriformis Syndrome
Tips: Try not do any stretching exercise in first few days of onset of pain also do not continue with exercise if your symptoms aggravate
Knee to Chest Piriformis Stretch
Long Sitting Piriformis Stretch
Forward lunge exercise
Four Point Piriformis Stretch