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Extreme leg muscle tightness,sciatica, and piriformis syndrome?

Hi everyone,

I was wondering if anyone else experiences extreme leg tightness with sciatica?

When I began having pain several years ago, I remember my leg muscles being so tight and antzy almost to the point of being painful if I didn't move them. At first, my symptoms decreased with a bit of exercise and stretching, but then I got to the point where my leg muscles got so tight that I had to stop most activities. Even walking became difficult.

Now, I am stuck in a viscous cycle of being able to walk around for a while, but then doing too much movement one day and getting extremely tight leg muscles which last for about four days. I've tried to monitor and control my movement, but ridiculously little amounts of movement seem to irritate it sometimes. Then, once the tightness subsides, I have to add walking and standing again very slowly, so as to not bring on the tightness again. It is frustrating as I seem to be going in circles.

My doctors believe my sciatica might be caused by scar tissue in my hamstrings, the sciatic nerve being trapped in the hamstrings,or by extremely tight hamstring muscles. Piriformis syndrome is also something I am wondering about. I am waiting on an MRI on my pelvis/ hamstrings to get some inkling of what might be causing the problem.

I'd love to hear from you if this sounds vaguely familiar to any of you at all!


  • In my case I have the ability to cause severe cramping in either or both of my legs almost at will. That's not a good super power to have as charley horses really suck.
    Disability retirement
  • HI, just curious what you are doing medically to try to manage? Are you seeing a PT or Physiatrist? A muscular/skeletal doctor can prescribe the right blend of PT and other non surgical treatments, that if done consistently, can keep this manageable.

    I suggest this b/c I have a herniated disc and have had 2 Microdiscectomies. The scar tissue and I think general damage from the rupture, has my leg tight, painful, and the foot/calve cramps are sometimes ridiculously painful. Also, getting up in the morning was a challenge. My doctor did another MRI to be sure I hadn't re-injured myself and as far as the report shows, it's just scar tissue and continued problems. The Physiatrist and his PT guy helped me. It took about 8 weeks of PT (including some dry needling, stim machine, massage, stretching, and strengthing) but I"m doing considerably better and while I still have issues, they are not as frequent. I have to keep doing the exercises though.

    Those charley horses really do suck like QUicksilver says.
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  • I have severe tightness from knees to ankles lower back where i had a failed fusion,pain management cannot help me but the dr said to take baclofen,noritryplene,hot tub,i can hardly walk perocet takes the stining away buy thats all just cant understand they drs cannot me, Rick pa
  • Hi DNice,

    I am so happy to hear you are doing better. That is excellent! Thank you for your post.

    Currently, I am working with two sports medicine doctors to try to diagnose the issue, but they are hesitant to get me into anything serious as we still don't know what's causing the sciatica. In the meantime, I have tried various therapies to try to relieve the pain, but unfortunately, I haven't found a form of management that has helped me long term. However, I have not tried a combination of things at once. I have tried dry needling, myofascial release massage, and active release therapy (ART). The ART helped for a time, but eventually my pain and tightness just came right back when I tried to walk around again. The same goes with massage and dry needling, unfortunately.

    Right now, I am just waiting on a hamstring/ pelvic MRI as, without knowing what is causing my sciatic nerve compression (whether it be an issue with the nerve roots in the low back, or scar tissue, or tight muscles) I am having a hard time knowing what form of treatment to do. I think if I get some sort of idea of what is causing the pain, it'll be easier for my doctors to suggest what types of therapy to explore.

    backman01, I am so sorry to hear you are experiencing this pain too :( Does your tightness last for days on end? I hope that you find a form of treatment that can help you soon.

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