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November 5, 2012 1:25 PM   Subscribe

Please help me figure out how to stop this weird butt muscle pain.

Reading a thread earlier made me think about researching this low-grade pain I've been having on and off for several months. It's some sort of muscle soreness and it's basically centered, for lack of a more dignified locator, at the top of my butt crack. I looked up info on piriformis syndrome but from what I can tell that's more in the center of the butt cheek (though I could be wrong) and I don't have the back or leg pain that is usually included.

I bike occasionally and can tell the difference between soreness from riding and this pain, so I don't think that's what is causing it. To be honest I suspect my work chair (a Herman Miller mesh thing) but there aren't other options available and I can't afford to buy my own right now. I could get some sort of cushion or do stretches if that would help. If I bring my knees to my chest and balance on my tailbone/butt, it hurts like crazy but feels better afterward.

Do I need a doughnut cushion? or lumbar support? Or just exercise?
posted by brilliantine to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Are you sure it's muscular? Could it be a pilonidal cyst (warning, some uncomfortable photos)?
posted by telegraph at 1:35 PM on November 5, 2012

Maybe try rolling on a tennis ball? I have no idea if that would make one of those terrifying cyst things worse, though, if mighty wotan forbid that's what it is.
posted by elizardbits at 1:36 PM on November 5, 2012

Stretching is your friend. Google around for different stretches involving the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and latissimus dorsi. You'll feel it when you're hitting the right area, but stretching it once won't be enough. You may need a routine of [at least] once a day over several days before you start feeling relief.
posted by dephlogisticated at 1:37 PM on November 5, 2012

Best answer: The back is an extremely complicated beast from a musculature stand point. I get that same pain (the area by the way is called the sacrum). The way I have found to get rid of it is with massage or ART to that piriformis area. Whatever it is that I do builds tension in that sacrum area that can only be cured with vicious work to my piriformis (white hot blinding pain that you eventually get used to because it makes the sacrum pain go away). Some times, they get in to your psoas too, which seems non-intuitive but they know that area better than I do.

Visit a well-educated massage therapist or chiropractor that does ART. They will know exactly what you have and how to fix it. When I discovered this solution first-hand, I was sooo happy. It was like magic (a dark, evil magic that attacked the most tender part of my buttcheek, but magic nonetheless).

Good luck!
posted by milqman at 1:41 PM on November 5, 2012

If the area is hot, it is likely some kind of pilonidal sinus/abcess. That's something you'll want to get looked at, especially if it's been persistent for months. Don't put undue pressure on it; if it is a pilonidal abcess, you are only widening/lengthening the sinus tract(s).
posted by tehloki at 5:54 PM on November 5, 2012

Use a mirror to see if it's red and/or has a raised lump, those are telltale signs of a pillionoidal cyst. Mine felt like I had bruised my tailbone from a fall.

If you do think its just muscular, search for some piraformis stretches. A good massage will help too, as long as you are not squeamish about someone touching your butt.
posted by radioamy at 6:41 PM on November 5, 2012

So, I have been having this pain for several weeks. I needed different shoes that countered my weird new gait (pregnancy waddle which I know isn't your issue!) Heel support (slightly raised and cushy) is what really really helped me!

Also, massage really helped!
posted by Swisstine at 7:15 PM on November 5, 2012

I have a mystery pain too and it sounds exactly like this... a muscle cramp-like feeling around the tailbone. I don't think mine is classic piriformis either, but may be a combination of piriformis tightness with something else. For instance I have insanely tight hamstrings, made worse by endless hours at my desk. The hamstring tightness feels 'connected' to the tailbone-ish pain in a way i cant yet pinpoint. I don't t get the pain just while sitting though, but more when I start waking a bunch, taking a lot of stairs, etc. When does the low grade pain get more noticeable? Are hamstring issues present for you, as well?

I haven't figured how to fix this, but I'm working on getting myself more limber everywhere in the legs and hips. I have done some PNF stretching with a trainer recently which as been a good addition. I will be watching this thread with interest!
posted by NikitaNikita at 10:47 PM on November 5, 2012

Best answer: DON'T SIT TOO MUCH. Chairs that are a bad idea are soft (made of foam or cushion), with little back support (like dainty wood chairs that have one strip of wood across the upper back). I am currently sitting in a lawn chair with a taut fabric seat and taut fabric back rest. It is wide enough to cross legs in. This is the most comfortable chair.

Try to identify a chair that is best to sit in for you. The best kind will have adequate back support. The mesh ones irritate me too, because they don't keep everything down there separated or something. I have this scientific theory that the the gravity squishes your leg muscles and nerves together and the mesh just doesn't push back enough or something. I know this is all chairs, but I've noticed this with mesh.

Stretch your butt. Massage and stretching are two sides of the same coin. Never keep stretching if it makes the pain worse, but this one is usually harmless.... Lie in bed, put your feet up where the head usually goes. 90 degree angle. That makes your hamstrings longer, or something. It's worked for me. :)

For immediate improvement. Get a massage from an... um... friend or sympathetic party. A hot water bottle helps too. Hydrotherapy (sitting in a hot bath) was one actual type of therapy I've come across for this problem. A hot water bottle seems to confer a lot of the same benefits as does a hot shower.
posted by kettleoffish at 11:12 PM on November 5, 2012

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