The piriformis is a small muscle that stabilizes the hip joint and aids in the movement of the hip and thigh, such as running, climbing stairs, balance, etc. The sciatic nerve runs next to the piriformis muscle and may become irritated when the muscle is tight and compresses the nerve. Piriformis syndrome is diagnosed by an examination that elicits pain in the muscle and when other sources of pain such as herniated disc or spinal stenosis have been eliminated. Steroid injections are given to decrease spasms, pain and improve blood flow to the muscle. Physical Therapy will help restore normal muscle flexibility, strength and function. Other treatments may include correction of posture, application of heat or cold packs, anti-inflammatory medication and massage.
When you arrive, a nurse will obtain a description of your pain and how you are managing daily activities. Your blood pressure, pulse, temperature and weight will be recorded. Medications, allergies and a brief health history will be reviewed. It is important to let the nurse know if you have allergies to medications or latex, if you are taking blood thinners, such as Coumadin, Plavix, Pradaxa or Lovenox or if you have diabetes.
After discussing treatment with your physician and signing procedural consent, you will be helped onto the stretcher. Your skin will be cleansed with antiseptic and the physician will inject the medication into the piriformis muscle. The procedure will take less than a minute.
For your comfort, please plan to stay with us about 15 to 20 minutes. A nurse will be available to answer any questions you might have and to review discharge instructions and follow-up care.
When you go home
- Activities: Rest and avoid activities that might aggravate your pain. You can usually return to work and exercising on the next day.
- Pain: Ice on the injection site and taking your regular pain medications will help with any discomfort. Some patients initially experience more pain after the injection when the anesthetic wears off because the steroid can be irritating to the nerves.
- Follow-up: Make an appointment for follow up or to repeat the injection as needed.
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