Almost all of us have experienced buttock—or hip, as many people refer—pain. This pain may be as mild as having stiff buttock or hip when sitting for too long, to the more severe one as not being able to walk or lay down in any comfortable positions. Prolonged or severe buttock pain may be caused by variety of risk factors and may more or less affect the quality of someone’s life and their ability to do daily chores properly. Moreover, pain in the buttock does not necessarily mean the painful sensation on the buttock area itself. Rather, people may experience this pain on the areas surrounding the buttocks, such as the hip, the lower back, and even the upper thighs. Similarly, the factors can be caused by the buttock structures as well as referred from these other areas of the body.
Causes of buttock pain
Since pain in the buttock may be derived from various main factors, knowing these possibilities is beneficial in determining the most suitable treatments you may perform to improve the condition. This content gives the descriptions about some things that may be referred as the main cause of any buttock pain. Your pain in the butt might be caused by one single factor or the combination of some of them.
The sciatica nerve is the longest nerve you have in your body. It stretches from your lower back through your buttocks to the end of your feet. Thus, sciatica refers to a condition where an irritation or compression of this longest nerve presents, causing shooting or persistent pain in the lower back, hip and around the buttock region, and the back of the thighs or legs.
Major symptoms of sciatica include muscles weakness, loss of sensation along the path of the nerve, and numbness or tingling sensation. In some cases, sciatica is felt only on one side of the buttock, hip, or thigh, and may be prolonged. To minimize these symptoms and improve the sciatica-affected side, anti-inflammatory medications and light yet regular exercises are required. It is important to improve sciatica, since acute sciatica may require surgical procedures in order to heal.
Piriformis muscle syndrome
While the sciatica nerve stretches alongside the lower part of the body, the piriformis muscle is a small muscle located in the center of the buttock, which is very susceptible to stress. The sciatic muscle runs through this muscle. Piriformis muscle is very active when you are walking, running, or doing other activities that gives pressure to the center of the buttock region. When there is excessive, prolonged pressure on the muscle, it becomes tense enough to squeeze the sciatic nerve. This is the condition referred as Piriformis Syndrome.
Major symptoms of Piriformis Syndrome include shooting pain and numbness that affect not only the buttock region, but may also travel down to the hip, thigh, or leg. There are some activities that may cause this syndrome and hence, they have to be stopped temporarily until the spasm is relieved and the pain subsides. Stretching the tight muscle and strengthening the muscles around the pelvic syndrome can also be helpful in relieving the caused discomfort.
Sacroiliac joint pain
Sacroiliac joint pain is another possible cause of buttock pain. This is the joint formed by the sacrum at the base of the spine and the pelvic bone, which is susceptible to injury. Too much or too little activities may influence this joint, causing pain in the buttock or hip region. Sitting for too long period of time, trauma, and arthritis may injure this area, resulting in stiff joint and painful sensation.
Major symptoms include tight muscles and ligaments between the triangular sacral bone, on the buttock, or the hip region. This pain commonly occurs when you are too active or on the contrary, too inactive. Most people suffer from this type of buttock pain when they sit or drive too long. Some others, however, experience sacroiliac joint pain as a result from excessive weight gain. Anti-inflammatory medications and muscle stretching and strengthening are some of the effective solution for this type of buttock pain.
Osteoarthritis refers to wear and tear of one of the joints all over the body. Osteoarthritis may present in the low back, the sacroiliac joint, or in the hip, and causes buttock pain. This kind of buttock pain is common with aging people.
Major symptoms of osteoarthritis include buttock ache that may turn into centered pain of the joint where inflammation occurs. Since the muscles may also be involved in osteoarthritis, the pain can turn into a muscle pain rather than a joint pain. Osteoarthritis cannot be cured, since it is related to the deficiency of joint density. Despite this, the effects of osteoarthritis can be minimized using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or by applying cold or heat compress on the injury site several times a day.
This is a chronic inflammation that affects the spine and sacroiliac joint. Different with sacroiliac joint pain, ankylosing spondylitis may spread throughout other joints in the body. In some severe cases, the condition does not only affect the joints, but also the internal organs, such as the heart and lungs.
Major symptoms of this type of buttock pain are chronic pain that begins in the hips and lower spine. Eventually, the pain spread to certain other joints in the body. Severe cases of ankylosing may not be able to be treated with merely anti-inflammatory pain killer and instead, may require surgical procedures.
A bursa is a fatty sack that works by reducing frictions where muscles pass across other muscles, ligaments, or bones. Overused muscles will be too tight and thus, rub against the bursa, causing an inflammation. This inflammation causes throbbing pain on the buttock that may persist.
Major symptoms of bursitis include prominent pain that occurs when you are sitting or laying on your side. To treat buttock pain caused by bursitis, sufficient rest, ice compress, or anti-inflammatory medications are advised.
Buttock pain can also be caused by slight change of the tailbone position. To maintain its proper position, the coccyx is supported by some ligaments. Thus, pain occurs when these ligaments are stressed.
Major symptoms signaling coccydynia include tenderness of the tailbone and painful sensation at the very base of the spine, just above the anus. The caused pain may either be mild or severe and persistent. The main causes of coccydynia include an infection and bone fractures. This pain is prominent when sitting and may require medical attention. There are some things that can be done to treat buttock pain caused by coccydynia. Resting, using well-padded seat while sitting, and avoiding sitting for prolonged period are some effective ones. Since coccydynia is mostly caused by injuries, avoiding re-injury to the site will be helpful in reducing the caused pain. If the pain persists, pain killer medications can be taken to ease it.
Buttock muscles consist of three kinds of muscles coined as the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. All of these muscles may undergo tendon problems that trigger pain in the buttock. Tight, weak, and short glute muscles contribute to lower back pain concentrated in the buttock area.
Major symptoms include persistent pain in the lower back and prolonged pain in the center of the butt that becomes more prominent when running or walking briskly. Pain-killing medications can be used to alleviate this pain, while exercising regularly gives a chance of getting rid the pain thoroughly.
Buttock pain during pregnancy
Buttock pain is commonly undergone by people with inactive lifestyle, those who start to age, or physically-active athletes. However, expecting mothers might also be susceptible to buttock pain, which can be excruciating during the first or last trimester of the pregnancy.
Major symptoms of this condition include throbbing aches in the middle of the back or the butt that won’t go away, or the searing pain of the sciatica during the initial or final trimester. The pain might be there randomly and it is possible for it to occur in the daytime or nighttime and thus, may keep you awake.
The main risk factor causing prolonged buttock pain during pregnancy is sciatica syndrome, a pain on the nerve stretching from your lower back to the feet. This condition, although painful and stressing, is temporary. There are some possible risk factors that cause you to experience sciatica when you are pregnant, which include:
- Excessive weight gain and increased fluid retention that put pressure on the sciatic nerve passing through the pelvis.
- Expanding uterus that does not only presses your bladder, but also the lower part of the spine, in which sciatic nerve is also located.
- The growing belly and breasts shift your center of gravity forward, causing the muscles in your butt to tighten up and pinch the sciatic nerve.
- The baby that starts to shift into the proper birth position in the final trimester. His head may rest on the nerve, causing pain in the butt, lower back, and the legs.