A large percentage of the time, a significant majority, when people come to me for sciatic pain, it turns out to be a Gluteus Minimus trigger point. This muscle is nicknamed the “sciatic mimicker” as it refers pain down the leg identical to that of sciatic nerve impingement.
Less often, but still more often than true sciatic nerve impingment in the low back and sacrum, is Piriformis Syndrome. The piriformis is a muscle deep to the glutes that serves to rotate the hip laterally, outward. Both are menacing culprits that cause debilitating pain.
I had back surgery in January of 1997 due to a ruptured disc at L4-L5. The pain associated with this injury was so severe that I needed help taking a shower, going to the bathroom and even dressing myself. I know your pain. The day of my scheduled surgery, I crawled into the hospital and walked out 6 hours later. I did not even need the prescribed drugs I was sent home with. I didn’t take the first pill. The surgery was needed and was very successful.
3 years later, while in school leading to my present career, I encountered the identical symptoms. Surgery was again recommended. My instructor, Heather MMerrit Morgan, DC,
had me visit her Chiropractic office for assessment and treatment. She determined that, among other issues, the cause of my back and leg pain was chiefly due to Piriformis Syndrome, a tight piriformis muscle that was entrapping the sciatic nerve that courses under it before it travels down the posterior thigh.
She taught me how to stretch this muscle and to change my posture and habits to prevent it from shortening.
When it reoccurs, at the most, once a year, I spend more time stretching my piriformis and glute minimus muscle. I am able to maintain my pain free status with stretches and monthly therapy.