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What are the Different Causes of Gluteus Pain?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The gluteus muscles are a series of three muscles that make up the buttocks, and through a variety of conditions such as misuse or strain, they can become irritated, weakened, or otherwise damaged and can in turn cause gluteus pain. Perhaps the most common route to gluteus pain is lack of use or sitting for long periods of time, which can weaken the muscles and put undue strain on them. Through compression and misuse, the muscle can begin to degrade and cause undue pain or discomfort.

When experiencing gluteus pain, one might feel dull or throbbing pains, or even sharp jolts of pain throughout the gluteus muscles. This pain can also spread to other parts of the body, most notably the lower back. Other times, issues with the lower back may cause gluteus pain; for example, if a sciatic nerve is being pinched or constricted in another part of the body, it may cause pain around the buttocks. Sciatica is a series of symptoms that can cause sharp pains or a tingling sensation when the sciatic nerve gets pinched, irritated, or compressed. This pain can be felt in the buttocks, lower back, and all the way down the leg to the foot.

Sitting for long periods of time can atrophy the gluteus muscles. Besides causing gluteus pain, such atrophying can also make common or simple tasks quite difficult or painful, such as standing up from a sitting position or climbing up stairs. Because the gluteus muscles are some of the strongest muscles in the body, they are associated with many motions and actions that would be otherwise difficult or impossible without them. Therefore, it is important to condition the gluteus muscles to prevent atrophy.

Stretching is perhaps the best way to prevent or reverse muscle atrophy. Squats are a good way to do so; doing leg presses also stretches the muscles and can also build new muscle, helping alleviate pain and contribute to more flexibility. Lunges, yoga, bicycling, and stair climbing are also great ways to stretch the gluteal muscles and build muscle. Massages and regular exercise can stimulate blood flow, encourage muscle repair and growth, and ultimately lead to the relief of pain or discomfort.

Pain in the gluteus can be caused by trigger points in other parts of the body. For example, if a muscle in one's back is tight, damaged, or overstrained, that muscle can cause pain in other parts of the body by putting strain on other muscles, nerves, or blood vessels. This can cause irritation or major or minor pain in the gluteus.

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Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By anon1001736 — On Jun 13, 2019

l had to run into the street from a homeless girl charging at me. When I took my mace out of my purse, it didn't stop her thinking I had food in my bag that I didn't have. Now my glutes are so strained it hurts to stretch, sit, and walk. I'm limping, but she was reaching to grab my hair and pull me down, so I'd rather deal with a strain than an attack. Santa Barbara, CA has become a ghetto and drug town. It used to be a quiet beach town decades ago. Not anymore.

By StarJo — On Apr 23, 2012

@shell4life – That's a good tip. I will try that next time I overexert myself.

I found out that climbing stairs can cause your gluteus muscles to be very sore. My friend and I had just moved into an apartment with four flights of stairs, and we decided that jogging up and down them would be great exercise.

We should have warmed up first and started out slow. Instead, we jumped right into it and ran until we could no longer move. We didn't even stretch afterward.

We were both so sore the next day that we couldn't walk correctly. My gluteus ached with every step, and I dreaded even having to get up and go to the bathroom.

By shell4life — On Apr 22, 2012

@wavy58 – I think it's strange that both lack of movement and too much exercise can make the gluteus muscles ache. On more than one occasion, I have done too much yard work or exercise in one day and paid for it with a literal pain in the rear over the next several days.

When I work in my garden, I do a lot of squatting. The repetitive standing and squatting really puts a strain on the gluteus, and I can tell when my muscles are starting to get tired. If I've gotten to that point, it is likely that my gluteus will be very sore the following day.

Sometimes, taking ibuprofen before going to sleep can prevent the pain from being severe. The anti-inflammatory works overnight to lessen the irritation in the gluteus, so when I awaken, I don't feel quite as bad as I would have otherwise.

By wavy58 — On Apr 21, 2012

I get horrible cramps in my gluteus muscles sometimes. It usually happens after I have been sitting at my desk for hours and I stand up.

Before I can take two steps, I get such intense cramps there that I can't even walk. Massaging them doesn't seem to help, and sometimes, it even makes them hurt worse.

All I can do is wait for the pain to subside. It doesn't spread to any other part of my body, though.

I now try to get up from my desk once every hour and walk around a little, even if it is just for a minute. This seems to help stave off the gluteus cramps.

By seag47 — On Apr 21, 2012

My sister had problems with her sciatic nerve. She had been working in a veterinary clinic for years as the office manager and assistant, and lifting heavy animals onto exam tables was starting to cause her physical problems.

She felt most of the pain in her lower back, but it extended to her buttocks and went all the way down to her toes. It was intense pain, and she had to take off work for a few days the first time she experienced it.

She could understand why her back was hurting, but she found it really strange that her gluteus muscles were also aching. Her doctor explained to her how everything is connected, and he recommended that she see a physical therapist for sciatic nerve pain treatment.

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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