Why does my butt ache when I sit?
July 29, 2011 11:40 PM   Subscribe

Why does my butt ache when I sit?

Any time I sit down for more than 15 minutes my butt starts aching!

I have a chronically torn hamstring, and a torn butt muscle in my rightside, but both sides ache when I sit.

I constantly have to shift positions, and forget riding on an airplane!

I play sports almost everyday and I'm a late 20's male.
I sit at the computer 8 hours a day to make a living.

So what gives and what can I do about it?
posted by crawltopslow to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sorry, but YOU HAVE A TORN BUTT MUSCLE. That may play a part in your pain in the ass.

Other than the obvious, can you do some gentle stretching?
posted by guster4lovers at 12:22 AM on July 30, 2011 [4 favorites]

it probably hurts when you sit down because your ass and legs are injured, according to what you yourself have said
posted by thelonius at 12:31 AM on July 30, 2011

You might have Piriformis syndrome.

This article explains the syndrome and describes stretches that purportedly alleviate the symptoms. (Disclaimer: author is a chiropractor, woo may be included)
posted by troll at 1:08 AM on July 30, 2011

Response by poster: It seems highly likely that I have Piriformis syndrome, I read the wikipedia page and it describes my condition very well.

I also have a lot of concentrated lower back pain.
posted by crawltopslow at 1:36 AM on July 30, 2011

Have you been to a doctor? Most people who have two torn muscles aren't playing sports everyday. Either you don't really have two torn muscles, or you need to stop playing sports everyday and wait for the tears to heal. You could probably clear up a lot of things by going to a doctor. -- Anyway gentle stretching within pain-free limits is almost never a bad idea.
posted by creasy boy at 2:28 AM on July 30, 2011

Response by poster: I've been to a doctor, several in fact. They told me to stop playing sports everyday, but I don't, because I love playing sports too much, and I keep re-injuring the injury.
posted by crawltopslow at 3:45 AM on July 30, 2011

...what can I do about it?
...I love playing sports too much, and I keep re-injuring the injury

Okay, so: I once pulled a muscle in my leg, and although I'm myself not such a great fan of outdoor sports, it took me roughly half a year to get back in shape, just walking and not straining. That's the time it needs, even if you don't keep re-injuring.

You know that you've basically answered your own question, right`? You'll have to find mental and actual ways of making yourself stop maintaining a practice that is apparently hurting yourself.
This advice is based on the knowledge that doctors, even though they might be able to fix what's broken, are helpless when you keep breaking it again behind their backs. Quit doing that.

You need to skip playing sports that re-injure you, AND you should find ways to play the sports you love, in the future, in ways that won't injure you. You are probably doing something wrong, technically, or you don't know the limits your body needs you to observe in order to stay whole. Talk to an Alexander-technique sports person, or somebody equally trained in just these issues and follow their advise. AFTER you've recovered from this injury.
posted by Namlit at 4:22 AM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

I too have butt pain. I've been diagnosed with weaver's bottom or ischial bursitis. The 8 hours sitting may be exacerbating your symptoms more than the sports you so love. Treatment options are pretty limited.
posted by klarck at 4:26 AM on July 30, 2011

So, you think you have Piriformis Syndrome?

You consulted a Sports Medicine Physician, right?
  1. Go order a small, extra-firm foam roller
  2. Grab a lacrosse ball while you are there
  3. Check out YouTube for foam roller exercises for Piriformis and Glutes
    • Here is a good one

  4. Feel the pain of self myofascial release

posted by grieserm at 4:40 AM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

You need to go to a physical therapist.
posted by radioamy at 7:17 AM on July 30, 2011

This is how athletes can wind up with career-ending injuries. Take a break now, per your several doctor's advice, or risk being permanently sidelined.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:27 AM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

They told me to stop playing sports everyday, but I don't, because I love playing sports too much, and I keep re-injuring the injury.

So you're okay with maybe being unable to walk on your own by the time you're 50 then? Srsly dude. Give yourself a break now or prepare for a lifetime of pain.
posted by elizardbits at 7:35 AM on July 30, 2011 [3 favorites]

Mod note: I know this is prime joke-material for some of you but please save your jokes for where they're appropriate.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:46 AM on July 30, 2011

It seems highly likely that I have Piriformis syndrome,

If you do, then you must do this: avoidance of contributory activities, such as running, bicycling, rowing, etc.

If you want to be crippled for the rest of your life, then by all means continue to play sports and re-injure yourself. Back problems are nothing to fuck around with. Get a proper diagnosis, see a physical therapist, and do what they say. Do you have less respect for yourself than a manager of a multimillion dollar athlete does? Then ignore the advice here and from your doctors and keep doing what you're doing.
posted by rtha at 9:51 AM on July 30, 2011

Response by poster: I don't want to be crippled for the rest of my life. I know I should attempt to not re-injure myself. But exercise is my life. I am a long distance triathlete, and on top of triathlon, I usually play soccer, basketball, or lift weights every day, it's 90% of my identity. But I know if I want to maintain this identity I should rest it until I heal, but it is hard to convince your body to do what your brain knows it should do.

All my life sports is all I've had.
posted by crawltopslow at 10:08 AM on July 30, 2011

Dude, I feel you, believe me. I spent my entire life from age 5 onwards doing dance and gymnastics and swimming and diving and running, and I never let injuries slow me down for more than a day at a time. And now I'm lucky if I can make it through the day without 6 Aleve and a lot of teeth-gritting. My knees are shot, my ankles are angry, my feet are mangled, my SI joint is cracked, my L5 is toast, and now I need surgery on my goddamn hip and I'm not even 35 yet. AND I just came back from a 45 minute run for which I shall pay dearly tomorrow morning. Because I can't fucking help myself.

In conclusion: see a doctor and let them help you. Find an awesome physical therapist and listen to what they tell you about reinjuring yourself and how to take breaks when you need to. Don't destroy yourself and hold out for awesome hydraulic cyborg knees because they're not happening any time soon.
posted by elizardbits at 10:31 AM on July 30, 2011

All my life sports is all I've had.

Time to work on branching out into something new in the way of sport, then. I would imagine you could still lift weights within reason after consulting with a doctor about which would allow you to heal. Try gentle yoga and reasonable stretching with meditation. That will keep you occupied while you're in the healing process as well as keeping you supple. Tai Chi might interest you. If you're doctor says it won't exacerbate your back pain, perhaps you can do kayaking or canoeing. After you do heal, take up, or do more swimming--not as hard on your body and will keep you cardio fit.

A sports doctor can help you heal faster with massage and other techniques. They also understand the need to maintain your fitness and the dedication you have to your sport. Find one you can work with and listen to them.

If you can't sit, don't sit as much--get a standing desk or ball to alternate with. Also, after you heal, perhaps you need to look at something ergonomic for work.

You prepare for your sports, don't you? Think of this as serious preparation to continue to do well in what you enjoy. WALK for now, not run. Listen to mellow music while you do so, so you're not temped to speed up. You can still maintain a decent level of fitness while you have this healing down time. You can either take a reasonable timeout now to heal, or figure you're going to have to give up exercise for the rest of your life after you get older. Trust me, I know what happens when the body ages and your past catches up to you. It sucks. Abuse it, you'll lose it.

posted by BlueHorse at 10:40 AM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you see sports as all you have, then if you keep on as you have, you will end up with nothing.

In addition to a sports physiotherapist, I suggest you also see a talking therapist who specializes in athletes. You need balance in your life, and you apparently need help getting it. No shame in that - think of the talking therapist as another kind of trainer or coach who will teach you new techniques.
posted by rtha at 11:06 AM on July 30, 2011

I once worked with a young woman who was injured in a car accident -- she pulled all the muscles down one side of her back. She was also very athletic and kept pushing herself before she was fully healed, and kept re-injuring herself. She ended up with stress fractures in both of her legs and sitting in a wheelchair for the greater part of the day in order to keep as much stress off her bones as possible.

Don't be like her.
posted by telophase at 12:26 PM on July 30, 2011

I get it.

I didn't take an off-season for several years - as in I ran nearly 50 marathons and half marathons without an off-season. That was several years of running races without a rest period. Then one day, my body let me know it needed time to heal. Lots of little nagging injuries and ailments hit me like a freight train.

As one athlete to another, take an off-season. Professional athletes do it and so should you. (Look up Sports Periodization) You don't have to grow roots on the couch, but give your body a break to recover. This is the time to get on down with the foam roller, the stretching, the yoga. Visit a sports med doc and talk to a coach. Get your body and your mind right.

Recovery periods are not optional. Recovery periods are a requirement of maximum performance. Giving your body a period of rest is as important as training and nutrition.

I can't tell you how much wish I'd have listened to this advice 2 years ago.
posted by 26.2 at 3:21 PM on July 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm a professional musician, and I usually have no chronic pain as some of my colleagues do. Sometimes, however, I do. Music is my life. So:

I'm right now reading a book about how to sit better behind the piano, and guess what? I've been doing stuff wrong, not all of it, but a substantial amount; some of it seriously wrong. I've always been learning and re-learning, and right now I'm definitely seriously re-learning stuff.

Bottom line of that book: it is not the profession in itself that hurts you, it's when you do stuff wrong that you hurt yourself. That's why I wrote my first post.

You need to heal first. That means you have to take a break. Read a bunch of books or something. Sports being "your life" doesn't exclude a time-out, certainly not in this case, when you actually need to preserve what you've got.

After that you need to find some way of doing the thing that's "your life" better than you did before. Find a specialist who tells you. You can read books about exactly this problem. Time well spent. Whatever it takes.

but it is hard to convince your body to do what your brain knows it should do

You are not asking AskMe to solve that problem for you, are you? The only thing you don't need to do is being stubborn and hurting yourself any further beyond repair. Kick your brains in gear, you don't need us for that.
posted by Namlit at 3:57 PM on July 30, 2011

It sounds like the piriformis muscle underneath the buttocks has active trigger points, which can be self treated with a reference book.
posted by Not Supplied at 4:47 PM on July 30, 2011

You need to let yourself heal. A good friend of mine was a serious gymnast and in his mid-30s has significant pain every day from "playing through" injuries when he was younger. It gets in his way and he says if he knew then how he would feel now, he would have taken it easier.

Obviously, that's hard to do if you're competitive.

Fortunately, you say you are a triathlete, which means you know and love to do one thing that is wonderful for your back: swim.

Take three months off the high-impact sports if you can, and just swim. Mix it up by lifting weights and taking yoga (yep, this is great for posture, balance, and flexibility, which will also help protect your joints as you age--so is ballet, but that's hard for adult guys to get into).
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:48 PM on July 30, 2011

I understand your pain man, I compete in lifting and love strength-and-conditioning, but you aren't going to have your identity left if you don't get your shit fixed and see a PT. Look, you can't do much with your lower body for now, that sucks. A friend of mine had to get open-hip surgery on one of his hips. He's used it as an opportunity to strengthen his disproportionately weak upper body. Take that tactic.

Work on your pull-ups, work on your basket-ball shooting technique, increase your (seated) overhead press, get into ring gymnastics (almost entirely upper/core work), there are many things you can do that will keep the stress off your lower body while it heals. Increase your grip. Get into legs-free bouldering.

I'm guessing since you're a triathlete you could use some upper-body strength anyway.
posted by Anonymous at 4:57 PM on July 30, 2011

Response by poster: From this site for hamstring injuries it says

"Are there any healing complications?
Occasionally fibrous adhesions may develop on the tendon in chronic cases. These fibrous adhesions can irritate the sciatic nerve as it passes above the Ischial tuberosity and then down past the biceps femoris muscle."

irritation of the sciatic nerve can cause Piriformis Synrome.
posted by crawltopslow at 5:25 PM on July 31, 2011

Have you seen the work of Dr Jolie Bookspan? She's a physiologist and professor of anatomy, and she specialises in training people to use their muscles and body in correct ways, throughout everyday life, as well as during exerrcise. Her work is scattered a bit all over the web, but you can see an index of articles she's written here. They contain lots and lots of free advice and helpful stretches and exercises.

She's written a lot about how to weight-train without hurting yourself, and she has a whole book on stretches you can do that help your body. You might be hurting yourself in the way you exercise which will make your injuries worse. Here's her article about how bad exercise will increase pain.

I've just been discovering her stuff and her stretches are helping a lot. A couple of her stretches just push my posture into place and also feel amazing.

Here's an article on how to fix lower back pain which might help you. Here's a list of her writing on hamstring stretches and injuries
posted by Encipher at 3:38 AM on August 1, 2011

Occasionally fibrous adhesions may develop on the tendon in chronic cases.

I dunno if you're interested, but I've found that you really have to treat a lot of that stuff with a pinch of salt. Someone I know has lower back twinges and finds it uncomfortable to stand, her doctor says the disk in her back is squashing the sciatic nerve. I get low back twinges, I treat the piriformis and it goes away.

I'm not saying throw everything a doctor says out of the window, but a lot of things go away if you treat trigger points, whether or not adhesions or slipped disks or old injuries or whatever are present anyway. Make of that what you will.
posted by Not Supplied at 4:25 AM on August 1, 2011

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