Piriformis Muscle Block
A piriformis block is an injection of local anesthetic into the piriformis muscle of the buttock. Tightness in the piriformis muscle can cause sciatica, which is pain down the back of the leg. There may also be pain symptoms in the hip and low back and even in the groin.
In some cases a steroid medication may also be injected. The steroid medication injected will help reduce the inflammation or swelling around the nerves that pass near or through the piriformis muscle. This may help reduce your pain, numbness, or tingling.
During The Procedure
The patient lies on his/her side on an x-ray table while numbing medication and then steroids are injected into the muscle using fluoroscopic guidance for precise delivery. The procedure takes about 15 minutes, with usually 30 minutes recovery. Discomfort during the procedure should be minimal. It’s not uncommon to experience some numbness in the leg after the procedure, and the staff will make certain that the patient can walk safely before leaving.
If a patient desires further sedation, that is certainly available. Usually this isn’t necessary and sedation does increase recovery time. Regardless of whether sedation is used, most physicians requires that the patient be driven home by a second party. Patients are advised to take it easy and not return to work or other taxing activities until the next day.
Patients are advised to be aware that after the injection, pain may seem to be gone; this is due to the anesthetic and will only last for a few hours. Unfortunately, the original pain will likely return in addition to some soreness at the injection site. The good news is that in three to seven days, longer-term pain relief is possible.
Degrees of response vary. The combination of heat prior to exercise, ice after exercise and stretching exercises will assist in a patient’s recovery. Follow-up injections may be needed.