The piriformis muscle is a muscle located deep in the buttocks area that helps rotate the hip. The sciatic nerve, a large nerve that runs down each leg, passes beneath this muscle. Piriformis syndrome occurs when the piriformis muscle becomes swollen and irritates or compresses the sciatic nerve, causing pain in the buttocks and down the leg along the course of the nerve. Pain along the sciatic nerve is called sciatica. Some people experience pain of the low back as well. Typically the pain is worse with prolonged sitting or while driving.
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