Pain in buttocks: Why and What to do?

Blogs, / By Shi Qi Yap

Recently, several patients came to our clinic with complaints of buttock pain. Most of their conditions are usually worsened by prolonged sitting. Many different conditions can cause pain in the buttocks.

Thus, we are going to share about what are the different conditions and some simple exercises to improve it in today’s blog.

Different causes of Buttock Pain

  • Trauma and Bruising

Bruising is the common cause of buttock pain. Normally, it happens after an injury or trauma, which causes the capillaries (tiny blood vessels) to break or burst underneath the skin, and thus creating small amounts of internal bleeding.

  • Muscle strain

Our buttock muscle, often called gluteal muscles are made up of three muscles: gluteus maximus, medius and minimus. Over-exercising, not warming up before exercising or sudden movement in an awkward way can cause these muscles to be strained and finally lead to your buttock pain.

  • Bulging disc in lower back

Lumbar disc herniation can cause pressure on the nerve root which then develops a sharp or burning pain that radiates down your sciatic nerve. The pain normally runs from the lower back through the buttocks and down to the foot and ankle. Usually, movement of the low back reproduces pain in the buttock.

  • Piriformis syndrome

    The piriformis muscle is located quite deep underneath your gluteal muscles. Piriformis syndrome is a disorder that occurs when your sciatic nerve is compressed and/or irritated by the piriformis muscle as it passes deeply through your buttock, resulting in pain. This pain is very similar in presentation to the sciatic nerve pain that is caused by a bulging disc in the lower back.

The sciatic nerve runs through the piriformis muscle. Therefore, tightness of piriformis can squeeze the sciatic nerve, producing symptoms including pain and numbness down to the buttock & leg.

  • Bursitis

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursae. It is a painful condition that occurs when fluid-filled sacs called bursae, which act as a cushion between bones, tendons, and muscles, become inflamed. You can develop ischial bursitis which causes pain in the buttock if you injure the bursae or prolonged sitting on hard surfaces.

  • Other medical conditions

Other conditions such as sacroiliac joint dysfunction, pilonidal cyst, arthritis, or serious conditions such as vascular disease or cancer can also be the reasons for your buttock pain.

It is important to think about the presence or absence of other clinical manifestations to accurately identify the reason of your buttock pain.

What Exercise Can I Do to Improve my Buttock Pain?

Glute Foam Roller: 

Use the force of your full body weight to press down onto the foam roller. Then, spend 30 seconds to 1 min to roll on it.

Piriformis Stretch: 

A tight piriformis might compress sciatic nerve and cause sciatica pain. Thus, spend 15-30 seconds stretching and relaxing the piriformis muscle. Besides, it’s important to keep the back on the ground and pull lower limb towards body to stretch the piriformis and avoid stretching the back.

Piriformis Release with Lacrosse Ball:

When doing this exercise, feel for tight and sore spots as you roll the ball. When you find one of these spots, stop rolling the ball and allow your body weight to put pressure down on the ball. Then, hold for 30 seconds to a minute per glute.

Dead Bug:

Lying flat on back with legs flat on the floor, raise right arm and left knee and lower them. Then, switch to raising your left arm and right knee. Keep core muscles tight and make sure knees don’t go past your hip sockets. Aim for three sets of 5-10 reps on each side.

We have posted a short video ‘Simple Exercises for Butt pain’ on our instagram and youtube. Click here to watch.

However, we recommend seeing a doctor or physiotherapist as they will determine the root cause of your condition and treat you accordingly. If you have any more questions or would like our physiotherapists to assess or treat your buttock pain, feel free to drop us a question, talk to us, or fill in the form below. Do check out our Instagram page too.

Yap Shi Qi
Rehab Therapist

Shi Qi graduated with Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Hons), awarded by Anglia Ruskin University, UK. Certified Kinesio Taping Practitioner (CKTP®). She practiced as a physiotherapist in a Malaysian private physiotherapy center with a special interest in musculoskeletal and neurological rehabilitation. Her previous experience inspired her to combine active approach along with patients’ education to optimize the rehabilitation outcome in sports related injuries and postural pain.

In her spare time, she enjoys swimming, singing, and playing piano.