by Erik Dalton Ph.D.
Following my February 2007 Massage Today column on sacroiliac joint syndrome, I received several e-mails from therapists asking how to differentiate low back, sacroiliac and piriformis syndrome pain. The first distinction needing clarification is that piriformis syndrome is considered a “functional entrapment syndrome.” The word “functional” describes neurological compression disorders resulting from positional or kinesiological factors that are not solely linked to structural or inflammatory conditions. Therefore, clients presenting with piriformis syndrome typically only experience sciatic-like symptoms during certain movements or when pressure is applied to the affected area (Fig. 1– reprinted with permission of Medical Multimedia Group).