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As a physician, one of the most commonly asked questions I hear is “when does it make sense to seek medical attention for buttocks pain?” Many people don’t think twice about any aches and pains associated with their buttock regions, as they assume that these are typical side effects from sitting too long or engaging in physical activity. However, some cases can be indicative of more serious health issues and may require medical intervention. In this blog post, we’ll discuss when you should seek out a doctor’s opinion regarding your discomfort. We’ll cover what types of signs could signal an underlying condition as well as tips on how to avoid becoming immobilized by your pain.
As a general rule, buttock pain is serious if the pain continues for a prolonged period, it may indicate serious underlying conditions such as piriformis syndrome, sciatica, or pelvic floor dysfunction. It is advisable to seek medical attention if the pain persists, is accompanied by weakness or numbness in the legs, or is associated with changes in bladder or bowel function.
If you are suffering from chronic buttock pain, you definitely need to read this post. As a chiropractor and ergonomist with over 30 years of experience, I have encountered countless patients with this issue. I have authored a book on posture, been featured on national TV discussing this topic, and created innovative solutions to help people achieve better posture and comfort while sitting. With all this knowledge and expertise, I am confident that I can help you on this subject.
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7 Potential Reasons and Factors for Serious Buttock Pain
Buttock pain is a common ailment that can have several potential causes. Some causes of buttock pain can be benign and self-limiting, while other causes can be severe and require immediate medical attention. Below are some reasons why buttock pain may be serious:
Infection: Infections are one potential cause of buttock pain that require medical attention. Cellulitis, an infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, can cause pain in the buttock and other areas of the body. Also, infections in the joints, muscles or bones around the buttocks can cause pain and inflammation.
Trauma: Trauma can occur due to several reasons, including falls, accidents, or extreme physical activity. Traumatic injuries to the buttock area can lead to fractures, sprains or strains in the hip, pelvis or spinal column. If you experience severe pain, swelling, or bruising in the buttock area, it is best to get medical attention right away.
If you’re struggling with back pain, I wrote an article on how to manage your pain and why you should do these important steps and I encourage you to read it!
Sciatica: Sciatica is a common condition that is caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve (or Piriformis Syndrome), which can cause pain in the buttock, leg and foot. This condition requires medical attention to determine the underlying cause of the compression.
Herniated Discs: Herniated discs in the lower back can cause sciatic nerve pain, which can often be felt in the buttocks. Symptoms can include pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs.
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Cancer: Buttock pain can also be caused by cancer, particularly when it is a result of metastasis. Cancer that has spread to other parts of the body can cause pain in the buttock area, along with other symptoms.
Spinal Infections: When spinal infections occur, they can cause back and buttock pain. Infections such as tuberculosis or osteomyelitis can also cause inflammation around the spinal cord area.
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can cause inflammation in the digestive tract, which can radiate to the buttock area, leading to pain.
In summary, the reasons for serious buttock pain range from infections to traumatic injuries to spinal infections and cancer. Thus, it is important to seek medical attention if you experience serious buttock pain that persists for an extended period or occurs along with other symptoms.
What Causes Mechanical Backside Pain?
Buttock pain can be caused by various factors. It could be due to muscle strain, sciatica, or a herniated disc. One of the most common reasons is sitting for long periods, causing muscle tightness and weakness. Poor spinal alignment and an imbalanced core can also cause knee pain, leading to buttock pain.
Piriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular condition that occurs due to the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle. This muscle is located deep in the buttock, and it plays an essential role in hip rotation, abduction, and extension. Piriformis syndrome can cause pain, tingling or numbness in the buttock and down the leg. It is a relatively common condition that affects individuals who engage in activities that involve the repetitive use of the piriformis muscle, such as running, cycling, and prolonged sitting.
Several factors can contribute to the development of Piriformis syndrome. These include muscle imbalances, anatomical variations, trauma, overuse, and inadequate warm-up or stretching activities. People with anatomical variations such as a short or tight piriformis muscle, or an abnormal sciatic nerve pathway, are at a greater risk of developing Piriformis syndrome. Trauma or injury to the piriformis muscle, such as a fall or sudden twist of the hip, can also lead to the development of this condition. In addition, prolonged sitting, particularly in a position that compresses the sciatic nerve beneath the piriformis muscle, can cause irritation and inflammation leading to Piriformis syndrome.
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Other contributing factors to Piriformis syndrome can be poor posture or body mechanics, Lack of proper conditioning, weak hips, or gluteal muscles. These conditions cause increased pressure and tension on the Piriformis muscle, ultimately leading to Piriformis syndrome. It is also prevalent in females due to the wider hips and being more prone to muscle imbalances.
Sciatica is a condition that refers to the pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, through the hips, buttocks, and down each leg. There are several reasons why someone may experience this pain. Some of the common ones include:
- Herniated or slipped disk: This occurs when the soft inner part of a spinal disk protrudes through the outer layer, which then shifts to press against the sciatic nerve. This can cause intense and debilitating pain.
- Spinal stenosis: This is a narrowing of the spinal canal, which puts pressure on the nerves, including the sciatic nerve. This narrowing can be caused by arthritis, bone spurs, or other spinal conditions.
- Degenerative disc disease: This condition occurs when the discs between the vertebrae of the spine break down, leading to weakened support and pressure on the sciatic nerve.
- Spondylolisthesis: This is a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another. This can cause nerve compression, which can lead to sciatica pain.
- Piriformis syndrome: This condition occurs when the piriformis muscle, which runs from the lower spine to the thigh bone, spasms and irritates the sciatic nerve.
- Trauma: A traumatic injury to the lower back or hip can cause damage to the sciatic nerve, leading to pain, numbness, or tingling in the lower back, buttocks, and legs.
I’ve written a complete hands-on review about the best sitting position for sciatica, and here is what I tested best with my sciatica patients.
Here’s What I Found Out From My Clinical Experience
Based on my clinical experience, it’s vital to identify the underlying cause of the pain before recommending a course of treatment. In some cases, it may require medication or even surgery. However, in many cases, a simple change in lifestyle can help alleviate the pain.
Preventing Back Pain
The first step in preventing back or buttock pain is to ensure proper spinal alignment. When the spine is not aligned correctly, it can cause imbalances in the body, leading to muscle strains and tightness. A balanced and strong core is also essential in maintaining proper posture while sitting. Therefore, exercise regularly to keep your core muscles strong.
Using an ergonomic seat cushion is another effective way to prevent buttock pain. I always advise using a cushion designed by experts using natural latex top and high-density base layer foam. Memory foam may seem comfortable, but it lacks pressure support and resilience, and it’s a toxic material that gets hot when you sit on it for long periods.
Fashioning an Ergonomic Chair: Tips and Approaches
To effectively manage your seating needs, it’s essential to emphasize various aspects, with chair customization being a vital element. Numerous methods can be applied to accomplish this, such as incorporating a purpose-built seat cushion and lumbar support. These additions can mitigate pressure on your back and legs, enhancing comfort and maintaining good posture during extended sitting sessions. Also, ensure your feet are flat on the floor and that there’s sufficient clearance between your chair and work area. By implementing these suggestions, any typical firm chair can be upgraded into an ergonomic sanctuary that nurtures long-lasting health and well-being.
I explain the concept of my ergonomic design on a TV show HERE
Ergonomic Seating Enhancement
An ergonomic seat wedge (displayed above) can be used to properly align your spine and promote balance. This exceptional natural latex cushion helps strengthen core muscles while relieving strain in other regions, such as the neck and shoulders. Additionally, sitting upright is less strenuous on your hips and knees, as it involves more muscle groups at once compared to reclining on a soft surface. This vertical posture helps ward off strain-inducing habits that individuals may unwittingly adopt while working.
Buttock Pain Cancer Symptoms
First things first, let’s address the elephant in the room. Can buttock pain be a symptom of cancer? While it’s not common, it’s possible. Pain in the buttocks can be a symptom of certain types of cancer, such as bone cancer or colorectal cancer. However, it’s important to remember that there are many other possible causes of buttock pain, and it’s usually not a sign of cancer. If you’re experiencing persistent pain in your buttocks, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider to rule out any serious underlying conditions.
Rear End Pain When Sitting
If you experience pain in your buttocks when sitting, it could be due to poor posture or a lack of support. Sitting for long periods of time can also cause muscle tightness and inflammation, leading to discomfort. To alleviate this type of pain, try adjusting your posture and adding an ergonomic seat cushion (mentioned above) or support to your seat. Taking frequent breaks to stand up and stretch can also help.
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Backside Pain When Sitting and Lying Down
If you’re experiencing pain in your buttocks when sitting and lying down, it could be a sign of a herniated disc or sciatica. These conditions can cause pain that radiates from the lower back down through the buttocks and legs. A chiropractor can help diagnose the issue and provide treatment to alleviate the pain. In addition, incorporating exercises to strengthen your core and maintain spinal alignment can help prevent future occurrences of this type of pain.
How to Relieve Buttock Muscle
Pain If your buttock pain is due to muscle tightness or strain, there are several things you can do to relieve the discomfort. Stretching and massage can help release tight muscles and improve circulation. Applying heat or cold therapy can also be effective in reducing inflammation and pain. In addition, incorporating exercises that strengthen the glutes and core can help prevent future occurrences of muscle pain.
Pain in Middle of Buttocks
Pain in the middle of the buttocks can be caused by a condition called piriformis syndrome. This occurs when the piriformis muscle, located deep in the buttocks, becomes tight or inflamed and puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. Chiropractic adjustments and exercises to stretch and strengthen the piriformis muscle can help alleviate the pain and prevent future occurrences.
When to Seek Medical Attention for Your Pain
If you’ve tried everything and the pain persists, it’s essential to seek medical attention. It’s better to catch a severe condition early on than to wait until it becomes more severe. Buttock pain may seem like a minor inconvenience, but it’s crucial to take it seriously. Identify the underlying cause, maintain proper spinal alignment and a balanced core, and use an ergonomic seat cushion to prevent pain. Remember, if the pain persists, seek medical attention.
Ultimately, determining if your buttock pain is serious or not depends on the underlying cause and accompanying symptoms. If your pain persists for more than a few days or is accompanied with other worrisome symptoms, it’s time to see a medical professional. The doctor can discuss the possible causes and treatments available to you so that you can begin to feel better as soon as possible. Additionally, try to change up how you normally sit to reduce pressure on the buttock area and avoid any additional damage. Remember that when it comes to your health, there is no shame in reaching out for help and getting the answers that put you at ease. Take care of yourself and don’t hesitate to speak up about anything giving you concerns – after all, your body deserves all the respect and healing it deserves.