Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Fitness

Get Email Updates

Resource Centers

Fitness Guide

Christine Jeffries

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Dull Ache In Your Butt Might Be Piriformis Syndrome

By Mark Dilworth
 
Rate This
Dull Ache In Your Butt Might Be Piriformis Syndrome 3 5 6
Fitness related image
Photo: Getty Images

Have you had a dull ache in your butt for some time? There could be a reason. You may have piriformis syndrome. The piriformis muscle lies deep in the gluteus maximus. It is often a neglected stretching area in your body. Piriformis syndrome is a condition in which this tight muscle irritates the sciatic nerve causing pain (or a dull ache) in the buttocks and referring pain along the sciatic nerve.

This pain goes down the back of the thigh and/or into the lower back. Deep pain is often made worse by sitting, climbing or squatting.

Piriformis syndrome is often found in runners or athletes in sports that require running, change of direction and weight-bearing activities. Exercising on hard or uneven surfaces also cause problems.

Biomechanical problems such as poor running mechanics, tight muscles in the lower back, hips and buttocks and running with the toes pointed out also cause piriformis problems.

The glutes don't fire properly when the hip flexors (psoas, iliacus, tensor fascia latae, etc.) are overactive or tight. This can happen due to poor flexibility or prolonged sitting. When the hip flexors don't work properly, its antagonist (mainly the gluteus maximus) becomes weak.

This is known as reciprocal inhibition (when muscles on one side of a joint become tight or overactive, it shuts down the muscles on the other side of the joint). When a prime mover (such as the gluteus maximus) becomes weak, other muscles (synergists) take over the function that the prime mover should be doing.

In this case, the synergists would be the hamstrings. Some injuries that occur because of inactive glutes are piriformis syndrome, knee ACL tears and low back injuries.

Treatment of piriformis syndrome is treated like any other soft tissue injury:

1. begin with the R.I.C.E.R. principle the first 24-72 hours (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Referral to Doctor)

2. rest and recovery

3. strengthen and condition the muscles of the hips, buttocks and lower back

And, of course, a proper warm-up and stretching routine is always critical.

Stretch the piriformis muscle this way:

1. Lie back and cross legs with the involved leg on top

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Tags

Improved

1633 Health

Changed

608 Lives

Saved

455 Lives
3 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Are you happy with your appearance?:
View Results