The sciatic nerve runs from the back of the hip, all the way down the back of the leg to the bottom of the foot. As the nerve passes from the spine into the back of the leg it must pass directly underneath the piriformis muscle (in some people the nerve will actually pass through the middle of the piriformis).
The piriformis muscle is an important hip muscle that plays a key role with respect to hip and pelvic control and stability. Through a variety of causes such as excessive or repetitive use with certain sports or occupations, previous back or pelvic injuries, or prolonged sitting, it is not uncommon for small amounts of strain and irritation to develop within the piriformis. This strain cause small-scale damage in the muscle known as micro-trauma which may result in scar tissue.
While this scar tissue may be a normal and necessary part of healing, problems can develop when the piriformis muscle is subjected to micro-trauma over the course of weeks or months. This ongoing micro-trauma will lead to the accumulation of scar-tissue in the piriformis. As this occurs it will start to make the piriformis tight, stiff, and inflamed, and will start to compress and irritate the sciatic nerve as it passes underneath the muscle.
Relieving pressure on spinal nerves and utilizing modalities such as therapeutic massage, stretching and electric muscle stimulation, pressure on the sciatic nerve can be relieved.
To view an informative video on Piriformis Syndrome, from the Spine-health website, please click on the photo
Along with the Piriformis muscle, there are three gluteal muscles that may cause pain and affect the sciatic nerve. GOIC professionally stands for Gemelli Obturator Internis Complex, the muscles that cause pain that may be described as a "toothache in the butt". The sciatic nerve that passes through this area is 2 cm in breadth. It is the largest nerve in the body and hurts in proportion to its size. GOIC Syndrome may be a symptom along with bursitis, stenosis, disc herniation, or tendonitis. Our doctors are trained to determine the cause of your pain and determine your customized appropriate treatment.