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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Can Piriformis syndrome cause muscles spasms and pain in the legs and buttocks?

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Dr. Eni

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2015

Answered : 319 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 14 May 2018 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Question: I am a 72 yr old female. For the past week, I have been suffering on and off with upper posterior thigh muscle spasms, together with a knife-like pain on the side of my leg going to my buttock. The worst are the severe muscle spasms. To complicate matters, for years my knee has no menisci and I have posterior pain. Thus exercises are very difficult, if nil. Could this be piriformis syndrome? Is there anything I can do for immediate relief of the terrible cramps. I cannot sleep at night on a mattress and rest in my recliner which brings some relief from the spasms. I take 2 mgs. of Tizanidine which I really don't know if it works; and alternately Advil and ES Tylenol. What "type" specialist should I see?
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Answered by Dr. Eni 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
You need to see an ortopedist

Detailed Answer:
Dear lady,
I have read your question and I understand your concern.
The knife-like pain you describe and the upper posterior thigh muscle spasm are very likely to be from piriformis syndrome. The problem with your menisci is chronic and in your age I doubt that the specialist will recommend any surgical intervention.
First of all you need to loose weight, if you are overweight, because this can only exacerbate your knee pain.
You also need to drink a lot of fluids, eat fruits and vegetables, because very often muscle spasms and cramps come from electrolyte imbalance.
Regarding to the medicine you take, Tinazidine 2mg is a drug that should be taken 3 times a day. It helps with muscle spasm.
I would not recommend Advil, since a chronic treatment with NSAIDs can cause stomach ulcer and clotting problems. Tylenol is a better approach, but it often is not as effective and does not yield the desired effect, pain relief.
I strongly recommend you to see an ortopedist. This specialist will not how to deal specifically with the piriformis syndrome and the menisci problem. There may be also a change with Tizanidine class or he/she may add some other drug.

I hope I have been helpful.
If you have any other question, please feel free to write.
Wish you good health!
Manoku Eni M.D.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj
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