If you have sore glutes after a workout, you know they are literally a pain in the butt. Oftentimes, this soreness is a normal side effect of an intense workout. Other times, muscle soreness in the legs and buttocks can indicate injury.
Pain in the gluteus maximus, medius or minimus after working out can be caused by delayed onset muscle soreness, sciatica pain or a muscle strain injury. This soreness can make normal daily activities difficult and occurs after strengthening exercises. For example. you might notice lower back and glute pain after squats. If pain persists for over a week or is debilitating, consult your doctor.
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Causes of Sore Glutes
Sore glutes after working out is typically caused by delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. Although the exact cause of DOMS is unknown, it's thought to be caused by microscopic muscle tears and your body's natural inflammatory response to exercising, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. DOMS occurs when you perform a new workout or push your body harder than it's accustomed to.
Sciatica pain can be confused with gluteus maximus pain and is often caused by a lumbar herniated disc that places pressure on the nerve root in your lower back. Lifting weights incorrectly, such as performing squats without utilizing proper technique, can increase your risk of a herniated disk. Over time, you will feel pain in your buttocks region and might have numbness or weakness in your legs, according to Mayo Clinic.
A muscle strain can also cause pain in your gluteus maximus during and after working out.
Identify the Source
DOMS will typically be felt 12 to 48 hours after your workout. The muscles will feel tight, ache and be painful if touched. The tightness makes stretching and contraction of the gluteus maximus uncomfortable. If caused by DOMS, muscle soreness in your legs and buttocks will go away on its own within a week.
Sciatica pain will result in an irritating burning sensation that starts in your lower back and radiates down your buttocks toward your knee. Numbness may also be present. Sciatica pain can be mild or severe. If your soreness results from an injury, you're likely to experience a sharp pain in your gluteus maximus during your workout.
Read more: Butt Exercises With Fast Results
Treat Sore Glutes
For DOMS, wait at least a week to perform the same exercises that target your gluteus maximus. A massage can help relieve symptoms. Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve the pain associated with DOMS, if approved by your doctor. Sitting in a sauna or hot bath can help relax your muscles.
Stretching the gluteus maximus can loosen tight muscles from DOMS and decrease tight glutes symptoms. Performing hip and low back stretches can lessen sciatica pain in your buttocks. If irritation to your nerve root does not improve with conservative treatment, surgery may be needed to remove the portion of the disk irritating the nerve root.
If you injured your gluteus maximus, resting and icing the area can help relieve pain until the muscle heals.
Prevent Further Injury
Prevent DOMS from returning by gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workout. Warm up for 10 minutes before starting a workout routine and always follow your workout with a 10-minute cool-down period.
Stay hydrated by drinking water before you get thirsty. Decrease risk of a herniated disk, which results in sciatica pain, by lifting weights properly. Keep your back straight, don't lock your knees, don't bend at the waist and use your leg muscles to lift weight.