Piriformis Syndrome: A (real) Pain in The Ass

painAs I mentioned in a post a few weeks back, one of the things that happens as you grow older is that you find yourself learning about parts of your body you never knew you had.

In my case, I have an ache in my piriformis muscle which is, quite literally, a pain in the ass. Turns out, I suffer from something called piriformis syndrome, which is – let’s face it – a bit less dramatic than Stockholm Syndrome, but sounds momentous nonetheless. While they can’t be sure, the doctors here think it came about because I run a fair bit.

For the most part – and per my mother’s example – I manage this pain through assorted stretches and the like.

But once in awhile, it really gets  the best of me. Like yesterday. Despite taking round-the-clock ibuprofen coupled with a stronger (prescription) anti-inflammatory, I had this piercing, stabbing pain that started below my sacrum and extended all the way down my right leg to my ankle. (As a new found expert on Piriformis Syndrome, allow me to explain that the piriformis muscle is sometimes wrapped around the sciatic nerve, such that when the muscle becomes inflamed, it literally squeezes the nerve, with ripple effects all the way down one’s leg…ah, the joys of WebMD!)

I’ve been here before. Last fall, I did several rounds of physical therapy to cure this problem. I had this really hot “physio” massaging my bum twice a week for two months which, in another day/time/galaxy, might have been considered sexy.

In the event, it was just really painful.

When things get really bad, I start popping pills. Last summer when “the syndrome” first presented itself, I spent a week in bed taking muscle relaxants while watching the Olympics. It was my very worst nightmare of the 50s housewife come true:  prescription pain killers coupled with daytime TV. The doctors were reluctant to give me the meds because, apparently, people get easily hooked (and having now popped a few myself, I can readily see why…).

But it’s not just this muscle that tells me I’m aging. It’s the “Sensodyne” tooth paste I recently bought at the pharmacy. And the osteopath I needed to see last year for the persistent pain in my shoulder.

The bottom line: We’re getting old, folks. Or at least I am.

I think about the only positive thing to come out of this whole experience is that, having never been a sporty sorta gal before, I now have a bona fide sports injury. My father would be so proud.

Great article in The New York Times recently about the effects of friendship on health.

Image: Photo by Žygimantas Dukauskas on Unsplash 

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