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A 30-year-old female asked:

What is the best diagnostic method to see if there is herniated disc or it's about piriformis syndrome?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Patrick Tyrance jr
Orthopedic Surgery 26 years experience
An MRI: A physical exam is first in the evaluation. Piriformis syndrome and sciatica often causes pain in the buttock and posterior thigh. Nerve irritation or compression from a herniated disc can cause similar symptoms but with pain and weakness extending below the knee and sometimes into the foot. Plain x-rays then an MRI if symptoms persist is the image of choice.
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Dr. Ken Yonemura
Neurosurgery 39 years experience
Compression of the sciatic nerve at the level of the piriformis muscle will typically result in symptoms extending below the knee in the distribution of the sciatic nerve. The symptoms can be identical to a lumbar disc herniaiton but usually there is a history of an impact injury to the buttocks and the patient is unable to sit with direct pressure on the affected buttocks.
Jun 23, 2014

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Last updated Jun 27, 2014


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