What is Myofascial Pain in Buttock Muscles?
One of the most common causes of buttock pain is myofascial pain, which is characterized by pain starting from tight bands of muscle or knots in the gluteal muscles.
The gluteal muscles are strong muscles located at the back of the pelvis building up the buttock. The gluteals mainly comprise of three major muscles they are:
Gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus start from the pelvis and insert into the upper side of the thigh bone i.e. femur. Many smaller muscles are also present in the deeper side of the gluteal muscles such as the piriformis muscle.
The gluteal muscles help in straightening the hip while performing activities, stabilizing the pelvis and aiding in other movements of the hip like side elevation and hip rotation. Gluteal muscles are specifically active while squatting, lunging, running and jumping.
The piriformis muscles and gluteus medius are the areas that are very much prone to develop the trigger points associated with myofascial pain in buttock muscles.
Pelvic instability, lower back injuries and overuse of the gluteal muscles result in the formation of excessive tight bands of muscle called as knots or myofascial trigger points. This may also lead to soft tissue and muscle shortening, increased pressure on nerves and local tissue followed by pain which ultimately results in myofascial pain in buttock muscles.
Causes and Risk Factors of Myofascial Pain in Buttock Muscles
Myofascial pain in the buttock muscles is caused by excessive tightness of the piriformis muscles and gluteals. Myofascial pain in the buttock is caused due to lower back injury, pelvic instability or subsequent overuse of the gluteal muscles. Myofascial pain in the buttock more frequently occurs with activities and sports that involve repeated use of the gluteal muscles such as jumping, running particularly while changing direction, squatting, lunging and sprinting.
Other Causes May Include
Signs and Symptoms of Myofascial Pain in Buttock Muscles
Treatment for Myofascial Pain in Buttock Muscles
Physical Therapy for Myofascial Pain in Buttock Muscles
Physical therapy for myofascial pain in the buttock muscles is important in speeding up the healing process. Physical therapy also decreases the likelihood of recurrences in the future. Physical therapy may include:
Exercises for Myofascial Pain in Buttock Muscles
Gluteal Stretch Supine: This exercise is performed by lying down on the back. Now with the help of hands bring the knee towards the opposite shoulder until a mild to moderate pain-free stretch is felt in the buttocks or at the front side of the hip. Hold the position for about 15 seconds and release. Repeat four times.
Gluteal Stretch Prone: This exercise is performed on the knees and hand. Keep the leg stretched beneath the chest and stomach in such a way so that the knee should come in front of the hips and the foot should come side way. Now by keeping the back leg in a straight position slowly bring the upper body towards the ground until a mild to moderate pain-free stretch is felt in the buttocks. Hold the position for about 15 seconds and release. Repeat four times.
Gluteal Self Massage: This exercise is performed by keeping the Spiky massage ball beneath buttock. Now with the help of legs and arms gradually move the body in forward and backward direction and from side to side in order to allow the Spiky ball to rub the buttock region. Make sure to breath normal and keep the leg relaxed. Repeat for about 15 to 90 seconds ensuring there is no exacerbation of symptoms. Applying sustained pressure to a specific tight spot for about 15 to 60 seconds or until the muscle relaxes may also be helpful.
Fascia or myofascia is the dense, tough tissue which surrounds and covers all of your muscles and bones. This outer fascial covering is very strong and very flexible. In fact, it has a tensile strength of over 2000 pounds.
Under a microscope, myofascia resembles a spider web or fish net. It is very organized and very flexible in a healthy state. myofascia can best be described as a complete body suit which runs from the top of your head down to the bottom of your toes. It is continuous, has no beginning or end and can be found almost everywhere in your body. Like yarn in a sweater the entire body is connected to every other part of the body by the fascia. It is a continuous weave of material. And, like a pull in a sweater, damage to an area of fascia can effect other distant areas in your body even years later.
In the normal healthy state the fascia is relaxed and soft. It has the ability to stretch and move without restriction. When you experience physical trauma or inflammation the fascia loses its pliability. It can become tight, restricted and a source of tension throughout the rest of the body. Trauma such as a fall, whiplash, surgery or habitual poor posture has a cumulative effect over time and myofascial release can help. In a healthy body fascia helps to maintain good posture, range of motion and flexibility. It also gives our bodies tremendous strength and helps us deal with stress and injuries.
An example of fascia would be when you remove the skin from a chicken breast, that white filmy tissue underneath the skin is fascia, and in a living state is very strong.
To summarize, fascia is like a superficial body suit which allows us to move freely, breath properly and perform our daily tasks pain-free. It spans the whole body and is totally connected as one piece of material. It is called “the tissue of movement”. And one of the more effective treatments is Myofascial Release.
When fascia is damaged or traumatized it can become too tight and cause a number of problems such as:
Things that can cause this once flexible tissue to become too tight are:
However, there is a treatment that can effectively treat this tough, tight fascial tissue making it more relaxed, pliable and soft.
It is called Myofascial Release
Myofascial Release is an effective hands-on therapy which can directly change and improve health of the fascia. The purpose of Myofascial Release is to break down scar tissue, relax the muscle and fascia and restore good posture.
The techniques of Myofascial Release are used focus on relaxing the deep tissue of the body, providing lasting and effective relief to the client.
As mentioned, Myofascial Release is a hands-on technique is applied directly on the body and uses slow and sometimes deep pressure to restore the proper health of the fascia.
What does a Myofascial Release treatment feel like?
The pressure used can range from very gentle touch to deeper pressure. The pressure from Myofascial Release should never be beyond your tolerance and it is important to give feedback to your practitioner during the treatment.
Some patients receiving a Myofascial Release treatment may experience a slight tingling or burning sensation in the skin, which is perfectly normal and safe. Others may feel a gentle to deep stretch on the area being treated.
The treatment of Myoofascial Release can last from 15 minutes to over an hour. It is performed by a qualified practitioner who has studied this advanced work.
These Myofascial Release techniques help to reorganize and lengthen the tight tissue allowing for better movement and health.
The hip flexor muscle, also known as iliopsoas, can cause severe pain if it gets tight. Its main function is to flex the thigh. The constant running and lunging on the tennis court can easily overwork the hip flexors. They get short and tight and very often will form trigger points.
The hip flexors are actually two different muscles: the psoas runs on the sides of the lumbar spine to the hip, and iliacus that runs from each side of pelvis and joins the psoas at the hip.
Trigger points in hip flexor refer pain into the low back, alongside the spine or across the back. It can be pretty excruciating – standing or lying down – and almost nothing can relieve it. Sometimes it is hard to get up, you might feel sciatica symptoms, and you can feel pain in the front of the thigh as well.
Activities that can activate the trigger points in hip flexors are:
- Prolonged sitting or sleeping with the hips bent in fetal position will shorten the hip flexors and activate the trigger points.
- Bending to the sides when your core is not strong.
- Trunk rotations.
- Tight quadriceps prevents proper hip extension and as a result generating more tension there. Be good about stretching your quadriceps regularly, and perform myofascial release on it, too. The quadriceps is very overworked muscle groups in a tennis player.
- Muscular imbalances between your left and right side.
- Leg length difference.
Stretching your hip-flexor is extremely important, but it may not be enough when you have developed trigger points. Myofascial release will bring you more relief.
Myofascial Release of Hip Flexors
Lie down on your stomach and place the ball high up towards your hips, just inside of the hip bone. Now as you transfer your body weight on the ball, relax as much as you can, and let the ball push inside your pelvis. If your hip flexor is very tight, this could feel very uncomfortable. Breathe deeply and stay in the place until you feel that the muscles start relaxing. Then move the ball around a bit to different position and repeat. Try to find the most uncomfortable spots and release them all.
You can do this with a tennis ball as well. But because the tennis ball is smaller, it will take more practice how to position the body to find and release the trigger points. Because you reach much deeper the discomfort can be higher, but you will feel really great when all the tension in the hip flexors is gone and you play tennis pain free.