BOOK REVIEW: Piriformis Syndrome by Loren Fishman, M.D.

Piriformis Syndrome: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Yoga: Pain in the ButtPiriformis Syndrome: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Yoga: Pain in the Butt by Loren Fishman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon page


This short book (<50pp.) describes piriformis syndrome, what causes it and how it’s diagnosed and treated. Piriformis Syndrome is a malady in which a nerve is pinched by the piriformis muscle. Because of the way pain (and other sensations) radiate, it’s not necessarily easy to differentiate this syndrome from a low back injury. However, the descriptions of the specifics of this condition, and the test used to diagnose, it may give one insight as to whether one is looking in the right direction for the cause of one’s butt and leg pain.

One nice feature of this book is that it explains how yoga can be used both as part of the treatment regimen and as a preventive measure. The yogic treatment consists of just four classical postures of Hatha Yoga: Janu Shirshasana (head to knee pose), Parivrtta Trikonasana (twisted triangle pose), Matsyendrasana (a simple twisting pose named for a sage), and Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (twisted side angle pose.) However, yoga teachers who have students who’ve been diagnosed with this condition will find it nice that the book gives modifications and clarifications pertaining to use of the postures to help such people.

There are seven chapters in the book. The first describes the condition and its cause. The second chapter explains the connection between the condition of piriformis syndrome and the symptom of sciatica. Chapter three clarifies the ways in which this condition may be misdiagnosed, and this is followed up by the chapter that shows how it is diagnosed by both physical examination and by imaging technology. Chapter five gives a basic overview of the available treatment options including injections, drugs, physical therapy, surgery, and yoga. The next chapter talks about the state of research. The last chapter explores the yoga asana that can be used to help treat or prevent piriformis syndrome. There are a few graphics. These include line drawings such as of the diagnostic physical exam, and photos of modified versions of the yoga postures.

I’d recommend this book for those who’ve been diagnosed with this ailment, who believe they might have it, but also for yoga teachers who are interested in expanding their understanding of the afflictions of which their students may suffer—so as to be prepared to help them or, at least, not hurt them.

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1 thought on “BOOK REVIEW: Piriformis Syndrome by Loren Fishman, M.D.

  1. Truly a pain in the butt. I had an episode some years ago – in all likelihood caused by my yoga practice in the first place. The ‘ouch’ I had on standing was particularly unfunny. Yoga also formed part of the ‘cure’ in addition to Thai massage and judicious use of an exquisite form of torture involving a tennis ball.


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