A primary care physician is able to diagnose and treat piriformis syndrome. However, in cases where the condition does not respond to initial non-surgical treatments, the doctor can refer his patient to a surgeon to correct the problem, states Family Doctor. Piriformis syndrome develops when the piriformis muscle places pressure on the sciatic nerve.
The piriformis muscle is found in the lower back region and runs to the hip joint. The sciatic nerve also is located in this area of the back and goes down the buttock and the back of the leg. The pressure caused by the piriformis muscle on the sciatic nerve can present symptoms such as pain and numbness in the lower back, buttocks and back of the leg, states WebMD. Walking and climbing stairs can aggravate this condition.
When someone experiences these symptoms for longer than a few weeks, a doctor should be seen. A diagnosis can entail performing a physical exam, a CT scan and MRIs. Although CT scans and MRIs cannot detect piriformis syndrome, these tests can show a doctor if there is another problem causing the compression.
A doctor can recommend treatment options, such as avoiding activities that exacerbate the symptoms, anti-inflammatory medications and a steroid injection. When these options fail to ameliorate the symptoms of piriformis syndrome, a surgeon can operate to release the piriformis muscle tendon.