Cautions: Sciatica & Piriformis Syndrome

  • Doing the wrong practices can make pain worse.
  • If a herniated disc could be cause, working with a qualified health care provider is recommended.

The Cause is Key

While the culprit of your leg pain may very well be an irritated sciatic nerve, it’s the cause, or underlying medical condition, that determines whether or not you technically have sciatica and (more importantly) the course of action for treatment. – Meagan McCrary

Important: Rule Out Disc Issue

[Piriformis] syndrome is one of many possible causes of one-sided buttock pain, one of which can be quite serious, bulging or ruptured lumbar discs. There is no diagnostic test to prove piriformis syndrome, so you have to rule out more serious possible causes of this kind of pain, such as a herniated lumbar disc, before settling on the diagnosis. So, if you have one-sided buttock pain with or without radiating pain down your leg, you should get it evaluated to make sure you have a correct diagnosis before starting to treat it. – Baxter Bell

Questions to Help Investigate Cause

What I usually go after when I talk to people… is typically what it feels like, what seems to make it worse or what seems to make it better. And, to me, those are the best clues into figuring things like this out. – David Keil


If shooting pain going down leg while sneezing or coughing or if student with sciatica has bowel or bladder issues, go to healthcare provider immediately as it could be a sign of cauda equina syndrome which should be treated quickly. – Bernie Clark