Maybe you already know that we have a muscle in our derriere called the piriformis. I didn’t until it brought my attention by way of pain in my bottom which radiates down to my knee where it becomes acute again and then down to my heel where it flares up again.
All this is caused by a muscle. Talk about a pain in the butt!
The Nerve of it All
I don’t want to mislead you so let me clarify that the muscle doesn’t go from the buttocks to the heel. No, it’s a nerve that’s being compressed by the muscle. Let me introduce you to the sciatic nerve.
It’s a mighty important and large nerve that runs from the top to the very bottom of the leg. Mine is irritated by the piriformis muscle that has spasmed into a tight mass and is refusing to relax. This is apparently common enough that physicians have given it a name: piriformis syndrome.
Next Steps in Treatment
The problem for me really started in March, but it was mild so I didn’t really pay attention. It was only when we stepped up our training in May that it became really bothersome.
I mentioned it to my doctor in June at my annual appointment. She gave me stretching exercises and told me to take ibuprofen 3 x a day for three days. After that only as needed.
Well, that helped the heel pain for a full day after the regimen ended but the other pain never really went away. After spending 3 days in New York City earlier in the month, I had to go back to see her. I was popping ibuprofen like candy just to take the edge off the pain with all the walking and standing.
She’s put me on muscle relaxers at night and ordered physical therapy. I can’t get into there until the end of the week so we’ll see.
In the meantime, I had a massage yesterday and my therapist really worked on that area and it feels a little better today. I’m also trying a new trick I read about on the internet which was sitting on a tennis ball and rolling over the area that’s tight.
The bad news is that I’ve had to quit training for the Susan G. Komen 3 day walk for breast cancer. I was walking in honor of my sister-in-law (I divorced her brother; not her) and feel like I let her down.
Hopefully, I can try the walk another year with a healthy piriformis!