Symptoms A-Z

Butt Pain Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Buttock pain can affect either the right or left cheek, as well as the anus. Butt pain can also occur when walking or sitting. Butt muscle pain can be caused by trauma from an injury that may result in a bruise or pulled muscle, damage to the sciatic nerve, or hemorrhoids. Read below for more information on causes and treatment options on pain in the buttocks.

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Common Butt Pain Symptoms

Having pain when standing and walking AND not being able to sit and rest may leave you feeling hopeless and wanting to crawl back into bed. You may be among many of us who spend too much time worrying about whether it has a nice appearance. However, the butt is incredibly important in that it allows us to sit comfortably and walk properly.

Butt or buttock pain can disrupt almost any activity, even those that are passive. The primary components of the butt include the gluteal muscles (glutes) [1] and the anus [2]. The rounded glutes allow us to sit without putting full pressure on our feet and are strongly linked to the lower back. As you may know, the anus assists with bowel movements [2]. Issues with both of these components can lead to butt pain. Recognizing your butt pain symptoms and working to identify the cause can lead to relief.

Butt pain symptoms include:

  • Discomfort in the anus and rectum [8]
  • Discomfort while walking and/or sitting [3, 5]
  • Bruising or discoloration
  • Itching or redness around the anus
  • Radiating pain

What Causes Pain in the Buttocks?

Sometimes the cause of butt pain is obvious. If the person behind you had been paying attention and didn't hit you with their shopping cart, you probably wouldn't be in pain. Other times, the cause can be an internal issue associated with other parts of the body like the lower back or legs.

Environmental causes:

  • Trauma: Direct injuries to the glutes (for example falling or collision) will result in butt pain symptoms of varying severity [3]. Similarly, trauma to the anus will cause pain in the butt [4]. Pain from spinal injuries may also radiate to the butt.
  • Pulls and Strains: Muscular injuries to the lower back leads to upper butt pain, such as pulling hamstring tendons or a long-term strain on the abductors [5].

Medical causes:

  • Nerve Damage: Damage to the sciatic nerve often results in the symptom set known as sciatica [6]. The sciatic nerve starts in the lower back and extends through the butt. A variety of conditions related to the sciatic nerve result in butt pain, including piriformis syndrome [7].
  • Cancer: Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men. The prostate is located near the rectum in the butt.

Inflammatory causes:

  • Autoimmune: The strong relationship between the butt and the lower back makes it susceptible to pain caused by inflammation. Osteoarthritis, for example, is a condition that affects the lower back and can cause butt pain symptoms [10].
  • Infections: Open wounds caused by trauma, if not properly treated, can become infected. The anus is also susceptible to infection [11].
  • Bursitis: The sac surrounding the sit-bone, or ischial tuberosity, can be inflamed [12].

8 Possible Butt Pain Conditions

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

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum that can cause pain, itching, and rectal bleeding. Hemorrhoids may be seen or felt on the outside of the anus (external) or may be hidden from view inside of the rectum.

Hemorrhoids are common occurring in 10 million Am...

Bruised buttocks

A bruise is the damage of the blood vessels that return blood to the heart (the capillaries and veins), which causes pooling of the blood. This explains the blue/purple color of most bruises. Bruises of the buttocks are common, given the location on the body.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: constant butt pain, butt pain, butt pain from an injury, recent buttocks injury, butt bruise

Symptoms that always occur with bruised buttocks: butt pain from an injury, recent buttocks injury, constant butt pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

Coccydynia

The tailbone, called the coccyx, is the most bottom portion of the spine. Coccydynia is pain around the area of the tailbone, which is triggered by pressure on the tailbone such as during sitting on a hard chair. Symptoms get better with standing or walking. Doctors are not completely sure what causes this pain.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: back pain, lower back pain, painful sex, back pain that shoots to the butt, constant butt pain

Symptoms that always occur with coccydynia: constant butt pain

Symptoms that never occur with coccydynia: warm and red tailbone swelling

Urgency: Self-treatment

Tailbone bruise

A bruise is the damage of the blood vessels that return blood to the heart (the capillaries and veins), which causes pooling of the blood. This explains the blue/purple color of most bruises. Bruises of the tailbone are common, given the location on the body.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: constant butt pain, tailbone pain, tailbone pain from an injury, tailbone injury, butt bruise

Symptoms that always occur with tailbone bruise: tailbone pain from an injury, tailbone injury, constant butt pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

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Anal fissure

An anal fissure is a break, or tear, in the mucous membrane lining of the anus. The anus is the opening at the end of the digestive tract where stool leaves the body. A fissure is caused primarily by constipation, which leads to straining to pass large hard stools; trauma caused by insertion of objec...

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

Sciatica

Sciatica is a general term describing any shooting pain that begins at the spine and travels down the leg.

The most common cause is a herniated or "slipped" disc in the lower spine. This means some of the cushioning material inside the disc has been forced outward, pressing on a nerve root. Bony irregularities...

Anal cancer

Most anal cancers are linked to the human papilloma virus, or HPV. However, many people carry HPV and have no symptoms or illness of any kind.

Most susceptible are men who have sexual contact with men; women who have had cervical cancer; and anyone who has engaged in anal intercourse, had anal warts, or is HIV positive. Smoking and lowered immunity are also factors.

Symptoms include minor anal bleeding and itching, which may be attributed to hemorrhoids; pain or fullness in the anal region; and abnormal anal discharge.

It is important to see a medical provider about these symptoms so that if needed, treatment can begin as soon as possible.

Diagnosis is made through patient history; physical examination; anal swab; and biopsy. CT scan, ultrasound, or endoscopy of the anus may also be done.

Treatment involves some combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy depending on the needs of each individual patient.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: abdominal pain (stomach ache), stool changes, constipation, diarrhea, pain when passing stools

Urgency: Primary care doctor

When and How to Treat Butt Pain

Butt pain symptoms could be directly associated with the butt itself, larger issues with the lower body, or could be a sign of something more significant internally. Treatments will vary dramatically based on the diagnosis.

It is recommended to contact your doctor for any of the following butt pain symptoms:

Sometimes the simplest thing, like stretching, can provide relief, but more complex issues could lead to long-term physical therapy or even surgery.

Treatments for the range of butt pain issues include:

  • Rest and stretching may be all that is needed to help heal hamstring pulls or other muscular issues that cause butt pain symptoms [3].
  • Medications of varying forms could be prescribed for pain related to sciatica, arthritis, or traumatic pain. Anti-inflammatory medications such as NSAIDs and narcotics have been successful [13, 14].
  • Antibiotics could be recommended by your doctor to treat infection [11].
  • Spinal injections could be used to treat chronic or extreme pain [14].
  • Surgical procedures can be used if the body does not respond to less invasive techniques or it is deemed that aggressive action is necessary to prevent long-term effects [4, 11].

Your butt does not stand on its own. The muscles and nerves found in the butt are part of a larger network tied to the lower back and legs. Muscular or radiating pain can be an important sign of larger problems. If the pain is located in or around the anus, there is the potential for infection or internal damage. Butt pain is sometimes more of a nuisance than a cause for concern, but it is always important to monitor butt pain symptoms and seek treatment, if necessary, to avoid long-term complications.

FAQs About Butt Pain

Here are some frequently asked questions about butt pain.

Why do I have pain in my buttocks when sitting for too long?

Many conditions of the lower back result in radiating pain to the butt. These issues can be magnified after sitting for extended periods of time [3, 5]. The sciatic nerve, for example, begins in the lower back, passes through the butt and down the leg [6]. Issues with the sciatic nerve, commonly called sciatica, can result in pain in the butt after prolonged sitting.

Why does my butt hurt when I walk?

Walking utilizes the many muscles found in the legs and butt and a strain, pull, or cramp in one of them could result in butt pain during motion [3]. Other, more chronic, conditions related to blood flow and circulation to the lower back can cause pain while walking as well [3, 5].

Why do I have buttocks pain on only one side?

Butt pain is frequently linked to lower back issues. Dysfunction in the joints and nerves of the lower back can affect the butt in a variety of ways, including pain on only one side [4, 6, 12]. The pain may also be an isolated pull or strain of a muscle on that side of the butt.

How long does it take to recover from piriformis syndrome?

As with all medical conditions and treatments, the recovery time can vary. Sometimes symptoms may disappear for periods of time, but if treatment is necessary, piriformis syndrome is treated by several procedures [7]. How invasive the procedure is and the amount of therapy required post-procedure will dictate the length of recovery.

Why is my anus burning when I poop?

A burning sensation while pooping can result from several conditions. Hemorrhoidal issues and anal fissures result in many painful symptoms of the anus, including burning sensations [8]. Conditions such as these result in inflammation of damage to the anus that create undue strain while pooping.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Butt Pain

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Do your symptoms worsen when sitting?
  • Are you sexually active?
  • Have you had any changes in your weight?
  • Any fever today or during the last week?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

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Butt Pain Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced butt pain have also experienced:

  • 19% Lower Back Pain
  • 6% Hip Pain
  • 4% Upper Leg Pain

People who have experienced butt pain were most often matched with:

  • 33% Hemorrhoids
  • 33% Bruised Buttocks
  • 33% Coccydynia

People who have experienced butt pain had symptoms persist for:

  • 31% Over a month
  • 27% Less than a week
  • 22% Less than a day

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Butt Pain Symptom Checker

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References

  1. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Gluteus Muscle. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Updated December 2, 2016. Encyclopaedia Britannica Link.
  2. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Anus. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Updated August 1, 2018. Encyclopaedia Britannica Link.
  3. Ma CB. Low Back Pain - Acute. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Updated March 20, 2018. MedlinePlus Link.
  4. Ma CB. Spinal Injury. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Updated April 18, 2017. MedlinePlus Link.
  5. Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Updated August 7, 2018. NINDS Link.
  6. Sciatica. Johns Hopkins Medicine. Johns Hopkins Medicine Link.
  7. Shmerling RH. Ask Dr. Rob About Piriformis Syndrome. Harvard Medical Publishing: Harvard Health Publishing. Updated April 13, 2018. Harvard Health Publishing Link.
  8. Anal Fissures. John Hopkins Medicine. Johns Hopkins Medicine Link.
  9. Prostate Cancer. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus. Updated September 6, 2018. MedlinePlus Link.
  10. Osteoarthritis. National Institute on Aging. Updated May 1, 2017. NIA Link.
  11. Abscess and Fistula Expanded Information. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. ASCRS Link.
  12. Bursitis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Updated February 28, 2017. NIAMS Link.
  13. Ma CB. Medicines for Back Pain. U.S. National Library of Health: MedlinePlus. Updated April 18, 2017. MedlinePlus Link.
  14. Back Pain. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Updated August 30, 2016. NIAMS Link.

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.