The Difference Between Piriformis Syndrome and Sciatica

If you have low back pain with tingling, burning or numbness that reaches all the way down to your feet, most people will tell you that you have Sciatica. But, do you really? Sciatica is more commonly diagnosed than Piriformis Syndrome, but the symptoms of the two are almost identical. 

Piriformis Syndrome vs. Sciatica

Both conditions cause the same result: the sciatic nerves become compressed. They even cause many of the same symptoms, but there is one major difference. Piriformis Syndrome occurs when there’s a problem with the piriformis muscle (a muscle located deep to your gluteals). In order for the problem to be diagnosed as Sciatica, the sciatic nerve can be compressed as a result of disc herniation, spinal degeneration in the lower lumbar area, or a tight piriformis muscle.
Still sound confusing? Let’s look at how the two are diagnosed. 


If your doctor thinks you have either condition (Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome), he or she will put you through a series of tests. It’ll start with a standard physical exam and progress to some imaging tests. You might expect to undergo a spinal x-ray, MRI or a CT scan. These tests will help the doctor figure out whether you have Sciatica. If you don’t have visible disc herniation or spinal degeneration, you may have Piriformis Syndrome. There aren’t any definitive tests for Piriformis Syndrome, but if you have a great deal of pain or numbness when you straighten your leg (so it’s parallel to the floor) or when you press on the piriformis muscle, you probably have piriformis problems.

It’s important to mention here that it is possible to have both Sciatica and Piriformis Syndrome. So, even if you’re diagnosed with Sciatica, you could also be suffering from Piriformis Syndrome. Moreover in approximately 1 in 7 the sciatic nerve will pass through, rather than under, the Piriformis Muscle making Piriformis Syndrome much more likely - as a tight piriformis muscle will more easily compress the sciatic nerve causing low back, buttocks, and radiating leg pain.


You may be wondering why all this matters. If your sciatic nerve is compressed, then it's compressed, right? Who cares what you call it? Well, the main reason for the differentiation lies in the treatment. 

Treatment for Sciatica will depend on the severity of the case. In some cases, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications are enough to keep the pain and numbness at bay. More severe cases require injections or surgery. 

Treatment for Piriformis Syndrome is more straightforward. Piriformis Syndrome can usually be treated with physical therapy or chiropractic care (although, sometimes anti-inflammatory medications are also needed). Because this syndrome usually comes as a result of misuse or overuse of the piriformis muscle, proper and consistent stretching helps in almost every case. But, not everyone has the time or resources to see a physical therapist on a regular basis. 

That’s why Miracle Stretch® created the Piri-Stretcher®. This device offers a way to focus the stretch directly on the problem area: the piriformis muscle. If you think you’re suffering from Sciatica, you may want to ask your doctor if Piriformis Syndrome could be the root of your problem. You may have both, or you may just have an issue with your piriformis muscle that can get better with physical therapy. It’s worth investigating, right?


Easily Reduce Sciatic Nerve Pressure & Pain Associated with Sciatica & Piriformis Syndrome.

The Miracle Stretch® Piri-Stretcher® patented therapy tool is helping to relieve low back, buttocks, and radiating leg pain associated with Piriformis Syndrome & Sciatica worldwide.

An easy-to-use self-guided home solution that works!

Additional Piri-Stretcher® Benefits:

  • All natural, non-invasive pain relief solution
  • Helps achieve focused and accurate piriformis muscle stretch
  • Compact, portable, easy-to-use at home or office
  • Adaptive handle with adjustable custom fit for all sizes
  • High quality, durable construction, machine washable
  • Doctor approved, FDA registered
  • Full color instructional guide
  • Includes complimentary mesh travel satchel (Retail Value $16.95)

Who Should Use a Piri-Stretcher®

  • Individuals experiencing Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome
  • People with limited flexibility
  • Individuals in jobs requiring sitting for extended periods
  • Individuals with high body fat, stomach, thigh girth
  • People who have neck or shoulder tension
  • Individuals with arthritis in hands
  • Individuals who would benefit from home exercise programs
  • Weekend athletes (runners, cyclists, golfers, equestrian, dancers) & first time marathoners
  • Ages 35 - 80

Piriformis Syndrome & Sciatica Symptoms:

  • Tightness in the lower back or buttocks
  • Large painful knot in the buttocks
  • Burning pain in posterior legs and buttocks
  • Aching lower back
  • Pain radiating down legs
  • Back or buttocks discomfort while sitting
  • Low back pain, buttock pain after walking or running
  • Muscle imbalance, fatigue, inflexibility, soreness