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Lumbar Radiculopathy vs. Piriformis Syndrome: Untangling the Pain in Your Back and Legs

Lumbar Radiculopathy vs. Piriformis Syndrome: Untangling the Pain in Your Back and Legs

Living in Fayetteville, Arkansas, means we're all active, whether it's conquering trails in the Ozark Mountains, cycling along the Razorback Greenway, or hitting the dance floor at Dickson Street. But sometimes, that activity can lead to pain that radiates down the back of your leg, leaving you wondering: Is it lumbar radiculopathy or piriformis syndrome?

Both conditions can cause similar sciatic-like pain, but understanding the key differences is crucial for getting the right treatment and returning to your active lifestyle.

Lumbar Radiculopathy:

Imagine a pinched nerve in your lower spine. That's essentially lumbar radiculopathy. A herniated disc, bone spurs, or spinal stenosis can compress a nerve root, causing:

  • Pain: Sharp, shooting pain radiating down the buttocks, leg, and sometimes into the foot.
  • Numbness or tingling: Along the affected nerve pathway.
  • Weakness: In the muscles controlled by the affected nerve.

Piriformis Syndrome:

This one involves the piriformis muscle, a deep hip rotator. When irritated or spasmed, it can compress the sciatic nerve as it exits the pelvis, leading to:

  • Pain: Dull ache or sharp pain in the buttock, sometimes radiating down the back of the thigh.
  • Tenderness: In the buttock area, especially when sitting or lying on the affected side.
  • Difficulty with certain movements: Like squatting, climbing stairs, or rotating the hip.

Chiropractic Care at Wellness Professionals:

Our team of experienced chiropractors in Fayetteville can help with both conditions through:

  • Spinal adjustments: To relieve nerve compression and improve spinal alignment.
  • Manual therapy: To release muscle tension and improve piriformis function.
  • Strengthening exercises: To stabilize the spine and prevent future recurrences.

The DAVID Health Solution Advantage:

Wellness Professionals is proud to offer the cutting-edge DAVID Health Solution machines. These innovative devices can further enhance your treatment by:

  • Targeted vibration therapy: For lumbar radiculopathy, it can stimulate nerve healing and reduce pain.
  • Pelvic stabilization exercises: For piriformis syndrome, the DAVID machines provide biofeedback to improve muscle control and reduce compression on the sciatic nerve.


While both conditions can be uncomfortable, they're treatable! If you're experiencing sciatic-like pain, don't hesitate to schedule a consultation at Wellness Professionals. Our team will work with you to determine the source of your pain and develop a personalized treatment plan that includes chiropractic care, physical therapy, and, if appropriate, the DAVID Health Solution to get you back to enjoying the active Fayetteville lifestyle you love.

Contact Wellness Professionals today!

Contact Wellness Professionals today to schedule your consultation and take the first step towards a pain-free future!

Bonus Tip:

Maintaining good posture, stretching regularly, and practicing proper lifting techniques can help prevent both lumbar radiculopathy and piriformis syndrome.

We hope this blog post has helped shed some light on the differences between lumbar radiculopathy and piriformis syndrome. Remember, you're not alone in this! Our team at Wellness Professionals is here to support you on your journey to wellness.


This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment program.

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January 29, 2024
Dr. Michael Dickerson

Dr. Michael Dickerson is a graduate of Parker College of Chiropractic. Upon Graduation, Dr. Dickerson practiced in Bastrop, LA before returning home to Northwest Arkansas. Dr. Dickerson has always focused on obtaining the best result for his patients and staying current on the best neuro spinal biomechanical treatments in the profession.