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Do I Have Piriformis Syndrome or a Bulging Disc? The Correct Diagnosis Is Critical!

Piriformis Syndrome & a bulging disc share very similar symptoms. Both conditions manifest with buttock pain & may cause pain radiating down the sciatic nerve into the leg.

Additionally, they both may lead to:

• Tingling or numbness in the buttocks & legs

• Sleep issues

• Pain with movement or after prolonged periods of sitting or standing

• Leg weakness

So, what sets them apart?

One of the simplest ways to understand a bulging (or herniated) disc is to think of a jelly donut. The outer part of the disc is like the dough of the donut & the inside is the jelly filling. When we compress the donut, the jelly squirts out. Similarly, in a vertebral disc, the jelly (nucleus pulposus) pushes out, often causing nerve pressure. This results in local pain & pain radiating along the path of the nerve.

On the other hand, the piriformis muscle is a hip rotator located deep in the buttock. Importantly, it overlies the sciatic nerve. Piriformis syndrome occurs when this muscle tightens excessively. This causes local pain & compresses the sciatic nerve; resulting in pain radiating down the leg.

Though the sensations may feel the same, the causes are entirely different!

Treatment varies depending on the condition, making a correct diagnosis crucial! At Triangle Spinal Decompression, we take the time to accurately diagnose your condition, explain it thoroughly & discuss all available options.

Call 919-469-8897 or visit

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