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.