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What Causes Butt Numbness or Tingling & How to Find Relief

A woman from the back with her hands on her hips with pink hair. Two closed eyes are on her right buttock with a speech bubble with "Z"s.
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Last updated April 10, 2024

Butt numbness quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your numbness.

Experiencing a numb butt can be caused from sitting too long which can feel as if your buttock is "asleep". Other causes of butt numbness include issues with spinal muscles which can also cause numbness in the lower back. Read below for more information on causes, related symptoms, and treatment options.

7 most common cause(s)

Peripheral Artery Disease
Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Spinal Stenosis
Ankylosing Spondylitis
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Cauda equina syndrome
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Multiple sclerosis (MS)
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Piriformis syndrome

Butt numbness quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your numbness.

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Butt numbness and tingling explained

You've probably experienced the strange sensation of butt numbness when you finally stand up. After your body gets used to standing, the feeling usually resides. Sometimes, however, butt numbness can last longer or come on suddenly. Sensation in all body parts relies on a vast connection of nerves. When nerves are impaired, you experience numbness and other possible symptoms.

Common characteristics of butt numbness

Butt numbness may be described as:

  • Persistent (continuous) or intermittent (comes and goes)
  • Acute (sudden and temporary) or chronic (continuous or recurring)
  • Temporary or permanent
  • Symmetric: This means both buttocks feel equally numb.
  • Asymmetric: This means the feeling of numbness is stronger in one buttock than the other.
  • Gradual: This means the butt numbness is worsening over time.
  • Sudden-onset: If you noticed sudden numbness in one or both of your buttocks, this could be a medical emergency and you should seek immediate medical attention.

Common accompanying symptoms

Butt numbness can be associated with other changes in sensation or symptoms in the butt, groin, or thigh area, including the following.

  • Paralysis: This means you can't move one or both hips or legs.
  • Shooting pain: You may experience back pain shooting down your legs.
  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Stinging
  • Pins-and-needles feeling
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty standing or walking

What causes numbness and tingling in the buttocks?

Butt numbness is typically the result of injury, compression, or irritation of a nerve or a branch of one of the nerves in your butt that goes to your legs and feet. Within the buttocks is a large nerve, called the sciatic nerve, which branches as it travels down the thigh and legs to give sensation throughout the thigh, leg, and foot. Thus, causes that result in butt numbness are typically related to this nerve and can result in symptoms further down the thigh and leg as well.

Inflammatory causes

Butt numbness can be caused by inflammation, which is the body’s normal response to injury or infection. Sometimes the body’s immune system kicks in when it’s not supposed to.

  • Bacterial or viral infection: Bacterial infections, like Lyme disease, and viral infections from the chickenpox virus, which causes Shingles, can cause numbness in one or both buttocks.
  • Autoimmune disease: An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system starts to attack healthy cells. Sometimes these autoimmune diseases can affect the spinal cord or nerves leading to and through your buttocks.

Traumatic causes

Trauma, irritation, or damage to the spine or the sciatic nerve can also result in butt numbness. Spinal trauma can be due to a misalignment of the disks that make up part of your backbone, narrowing of the spinal canal, or irritation due to arthritic processes in the area. Abnormal growths or tumors can also compress or irritate the spine or nerves that leave the spine and travel through the buttocks. The sciatic nerve can be irritated or damaged in similar ways and lead to buttock numbness accompanied by a burning sensation, tingling, numbness, and weakness of the leg(s) and/or thigh(s).

2 butt numbness conditions

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced butt numbness. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Cauda equina syndrome (rapid-onset)

Although leg pain is common and usually goes away without surgery, cauda equina syndrome, a rare disorder affecting the bundle of nerve roots (cauda equina) at the lower (lumbar) end of the spinal cord, is a surgical emergency.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: lower back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, back pain that shoots down the leg, leg weakness, thigh numbness

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Spinal stenosis

The spine, or backbone, protects the spinal cord and allows people to stand and bend. Spinal stenosis causes narrowing in the spine. The narrowing puts pressure on nerves and the spinal cord and can cause pain.

Next steps including visiting a primary care physician. For this condition, a physician might suggest further investigation including imaging of the spine. Treatments may include medications, physical therapy, or braces. For severe cases, surgery is sometimes recommended.

Piriformis syndrome

Piriformis syndrome

The two piriformis muscles, left and right, each run from the base of the pelvis to the top of the thighbone. The two sciatic nerves, left and right, are each attached to the spine and run down between the pelvic bone and the piriformis muscle to the back of each leg.

If the piriformis muscle is damaged through sudden trauma, or through overuse as in sports, the resulting inflammation or spasm of the muscle can trap the sciatic nerve between the pelvic bone and the muscle.

Piriformis syndrome is most often found in women over 30.

Symptoms include pain over one or both sides of the low back, and shooting pain (sciatica) down one or both legs.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination and sometimes imaging such as CT scan or MRI.

Treatment involves rest; over-the-counter, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; physical therapy; therapeutic injections; and, rarely, surgery.

The best prevention is a good regimen of stretching before exercise, to help prevent damage to the piriformis.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: pelvis pain, butt pain, pain when passing stools, leg numbness, hip pain

Symptoms that never occur with piriformis syndrome: involuntary defecation, leaking urine

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Peripheral artery disease (reduced blood flow in the legs)

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a chronic condition that reduces blood flow in the arteries, usually arteries that lead to the legs. This reduced blood flow happens when clumps of fat (called plaques) build up inside these arteries, causing them to narrow. Symptoms include leg numbness, foot and thigh pain, cold feet, and muscle fatigue. These symptoms often occur when walking or exercising. The risk of developing PAD is higher in those who smoke or have diabetes. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight, and not getting much exercise also can put one at higher risk.

You should consider visiting a healthcare provider in the next two weeks to discuss your symptoms. Your provider can evaluate PAD with a review of your symptoms and a physical exam. An MRI may be performed as well. Once diagnosed, treatment involves medication, surgery, or procedures to open or bypass blocked arteries. Lifestyle changes regarding diet, exercise, and smoking cessation may also help.

Multiple sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disease of the central nervous system. The body's immune system attacks nerve fibers and their myelin covering. This causes irreversible scarring called "sclerosis," which interferes with the transmission of signals between the brain and the body.

The cause is unknown. It may be connected to a genetic predisposition. The disease usually appears between ages 20 to 50 and is far more common in women than in men. Other risk factors include family history; viral infections such as Epstein-Barr; having other autoimmune diseases; and smoking.

Symptoms include numbness or weakness in arms, legs, or body; partial or total loss of vision in one or both eyes; tingling or shock-like sensation, especially in the neck; tremor; and loss of coordination.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, neurological examination, blood tests, MRI, and sometimes a spinal tap.

There is no cure for MS, but treatment with corticosteroids and plasma exchange (plasmapheresis) can slow the course of the disease and manage symptoms for better quality of life.

Guillain-barre syndrome

Guillain-Barre syndrome is an autoimmune condition triggered by infection. It causes damage to nerves in the body that control muscles. This leads to weakness, usually starting in the legs and then progressing to the arms.

Patients with Guillain-Barre syndrome should seek immediate medical care at an ER. Nerve damage can potentially impair your ability to control your heart and lungs. You may need to be admitted to the hospital.

Cauda equina syndrome

Although leg pain is common and usually goes away without surgery, cauda equina syndrome, a rare disorder affecting the bundle of nerve roots (cauda equina) at the lower (lumbar) end of the spinal cord, is a surgical emergency.

Call 911 immediately for an ambulance.

Ankylosing spondylitis

"Ankylosing" means a joint has become stiffened and fixed in one position due to injury or disease. "Spondylitis" means inflammation in the joints of the spine.

In ankylosing spondylitis, inflammation has damaged the vertebrae of the low back and caused a form of arthritis, leaving the lower spine inflexible.

The exact cause is unknown. It is thought to be an inherited, abnormal immune response that is triggered following damage to the lining of the intestines.

Most susceptible are those with a family history of ankylosing spondylitis and a history of intestinal damage from illness. However, anyone can be affected at any age.

Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the back and hips, and sometimes in the neck and shoulders. The pain will be worse during sleep and rest.

Early treatment can help to manage the symptoms, prevent complications, and improve quality of life.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination and x-rays.

Treatment involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; new forms of biologic medications; physical therapy; and, in some cases, surgery to repair damaged joints.

At-home and professional treatment for a numb butt

At-home treatments

The following at-home treatments may provide relief.

  • Rest: Injury or strains, like spinal stenosis, slipped disks, and sciatica, improve with rest.
  • Exercise: Arthritis may improve over time by steadily increasing your exercise or stretching routine. Exercise increases blood flow to the joints and nerves, which can help encourage healing from inflammation.
  • Heating or cooling pads: Both warmth or coolness can help soothe inflammation, especially from sore muscles or swelling.

Here are some over the counter treatment that might help:

  • Anti-inflammatory Pain Relievers: For inflammation-related discomfort, OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen can offer relief.
  • Heating Pads: To ease muscle-related numbness, a heating pad can improve blood circulation and relax the muscles.
  • Seat Cushions for Better Posture: If sitting long hours is causing numbness, ergonomic seat cushions can provide better support and reduce pressure on your buttocks.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with a physician promptly if you experience the following.

  • Persistent butt numbness
  • Worsening butt numbness
  • Butt numbness that is gradually spreading: Such as up the back or down the legs
  • Butt numbness associated with a shock-like or burning sensation: Along with tingling, numbness, and weakness of the leg(s) and/or thigh(s)

When it is an emergency

You should seek immediate medical attention if your butt numbness is associated with any of the following as it may indicate a spinal cord injury.

  • Sudden-onset butt numbness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Hip or leg paralysis (inability to move)
  • Severe back pain
  • Inability to urinate, pass gas and/or move the bowels
  • Inability to control bowel or bladder movements: Urinating or soiling yourself, incontinence
  • Numbness in the saddle region: This is the area of the body that would be in contact with a saddle when sitting on a horse, including the groin, buttocks, genitals, and upper inner thighs.


While many causes of butt numbness cannot be prevented, the following healthy practices can reduce your risk.

  • Healthy, balanced diet: Nutritional deficiencies are preventable with enough vitamins, especially the B vitamins like thiamine, B12, and folic acid. B vitamins can be found in fish, poultry, meat, eggs, dairy products, leafy green vegetables, beans, and peas.
  • Proper form when lifting heavy items: Multiple causes of butt numbness can be due to injury to the spine or nerves of the lower back, often during heavy lifting. Keep your feet spread shoulder-width apart, squat down and bring your knees and hips to the object, and slowly lift with a straight back.

FAQs about butt numbness

Why am I having trouble going to the bathroom with my butt numbness?

One cause of butt numbness is called cauda equina, or the compression of a collection of nerves located at the bottom of the spinal cord. These nerves provide sensation to the bladder, bowel, and legs. A loss of sensation after damage to these nerves can lead to butt numbness along with the inability to control bowel or bladder function, causing leakage or the inability to urinate, pass gas, or have a bowel movement. If you notice butt numbness with bowel or bladder dysfunction, call 911 immediately.

Why is my butt numbness worse on one side?

The spine gives off nerves that travel to both sides of the body. If the cause of your butt numbness is damage or injury to the spine that is more pronounced on one side, or if a nerve traveling on only one side is damaged, this will lead to butt numbness that is worse on one side.

How long will my butt numbness last?

The length of time your butt numbness will last depends on the cause. Sometimes butt numbness can be temporary after a long period of sitting without moving. Other causes of butt numbness lead to more prolonged or even permanent symptoms, especially if they are due to severe damage to the nerves leading to your buttock(s). If your butt numbness persists, you should be evaluated to determine the diagnosis and the best course of treatment.

Will my butt numbness resolve on its own?

It depends. Some causes of butt numbness lead to temporary butt numbness that goes away with some stretching or moving around. Other causes of butt numbness, like the compression of the spine, may require more advanced treatments like physical therapy or even surgery. Other causes may require medications to improve. Since the causes of butt numbness vary, you should be evaluated to determine the diagnosis and the best course of treatment.

Why am I having difficulty walking with my butt numbness?

The muscles in your buttocks are incredibly powerful and function to help you move your hips and thighs and support your body while standing. The nerves that carry sensation to your buttocks also give them the ability to move, so when these nerves are damaged, you can experience weakness and difficulty with walking or standing from a seated position.

Questions your doctor may ask about butt numbness

  • Where exactly is the numbness in the area around your buttocks?
  • What is your body mass?
  • Have you ever injected drugs?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?

Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.

Hear what 1 other is saying
Once your story receives approval from our editors, it will exist on Buoy as a helpful resource for others who may experience something similar.
The stories shared below are not written by Buoy employees. Buoy does not endorse any of the information in these stories. Whenever you have questions or concerns about a medical condition, you should always contact your doctor or a healthcare provider.
Numbness with agePosted June 16, 2021 by g.
Well, I seem to get the numbs now when I'm walking for more than 10 mins or standing for the same amount of time. It goes away if I sit down, oddly enough. The numbs start on the feet [left side] and migrate to the left buttocks. I am 63 and active for my age. Bike riding, swimming, some martial arts practice, but I am also 30 lbs too heavy, which I'm working on.
Dr. Rothschild has been a faculty member at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He currently practices as a hospitalist at Newton Wellesley Hospital. In 1978, Dr. Rothschild received his MD at the Medical College of Wisconsin and trained in internal medicine followed by a fellowship in critical care medicine. He also received an MP...
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  1. Autoimmune diseases. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Updated October 23, 2018. MedlinePlus Link
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff. Sciatic nerve. The Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic Link
  3. B vitamins. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Updated August 1, 2018. MedlinePlus Link
  4. Blahd WH Jr, Husney A, Rigg J, eds. Proper lifting technique. Updated March 21, 2017. Link