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Can you have sciatic pain without a herniated disc?

Are you struggling with sciatic pain?

Sciatic pain is common among adults, affecting 10% to 40% of the population. Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is irritated or pinched. This causes a sensation of numbness and/or tingling to travel from the buttocks and down the one or both legs.

A common known cause of sciatica is a herniated or bulging disc in the lower spine.

However, there are other conditions that can cause sciatic nerve pain that is more difficult to diagnose. One of those non-disc related sciatic pain is a condition called piriformis muscle syndrome. MRI scans cannot reliably image nerves and thus, there is no effective means to diagnose and treat this condition.

"For the last 70 years, sciatica has been thought to be caused by a herniated disc and treated as such," said Dr. J. Patrick Johnson, M.D., senior author of the study and the director of the Cedars-Sinai Institute for Spinal Disorders. "But our study shows that it is time for a major reassessment of how patients will be evaluated and treated for sciatica in the future – particularly in those patients with no obvious disc damage who previously failed treatment."

What is a piriformis syndrome?

The piriformis muscle is a narrow muscle located deep under the buttocks (gluteus maximus), and the sciatic nerves run underneath or through the piriformis muscle. As a result of injury or overuse, the piriformis muscle can become tight, swell, or even spasm. When this happens, it can cause sciatic nerve pain that is similar to lumber spine conditions. The piriformis muscle is used to help turn your feet and legs from side to side, so it is important to stretch, exercise and massage the piriformis muscle to prevent spasms.


There are many ways to treat piriformis syndrome. Doctors can prescribe medications, such as pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Other options include physical therapy, massage therapy, exercise, stretching and even acupuncture.

A regular massage therapy can help alleviate your piriformis syndrome. Massage therapy helps by:

  1. Relaxes the piriformis muscle to prevent spasming and reduce the pressure on your sciatic nerve.

  2. Massage therapy naturally releases pain-fighting endorphins.

But finding time in your busy schedule for a massage therapy can be difficult. Also for massage therapy to be effective, you need to receive it on a regular frequency during your week.

If you are looking for a massage chair that can target the piriformis muscle, the best choice is the Panasonic MAJ7 model. Panasonic's proprietary Real Pro Ultra massage roller robotic can push out almost 5 inches and spread apart almost 10 inches. No other massage chair in the market today matches Panasonic's range of motion.

This range of movement allows a very deep massage at the outer edges of buttocks to better target the piriformis muscle. Also the massager rollers are heated to improve the blood circulation in this region to help relax the muscle and to speed up the natural healing process. If you have sciatic pain, you will want to try out our Panasonic MAJ7 massage chair. It may just be the right solution for you.

Sources: “New way to diagnose sciatica may point to a different cause" Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, 2 February 2005, Jahnna Levy, DO “2 Little-known treatments for piriformis syndrome" SPINE-Health, 20 December 2017,