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Gluteus Maximus Muscle: Low Back, Hip, Tailbone, Buttock Pain

Pain in the low back, hip, and buttocks can indicate gluteus maximus dysfunction. Pain occasionally will extend into the back of the upper thigh.

What pain and symptoms are caused by the gluteus maximus muscle?

  • Low back pain
  • Outer hip pain near and or around the joint
  • Pain around the tailbone
  • Pain and burning in the buttocks
  • Increased pain when walking uphill or up an incline
  • Inability or increased pain when you bend over to touch your toes

Where is the gluteus maximus muscle?

The gluteus maximus is the large muscle of the buttocks. It connects the hip bone (Iliac crest) and the bottom of the spine (sacrum) to the upper thigh (ilotibial band and femur).

What movements does the gluteus maximus muscle control?

  • Straightens the thigh at the hip (straightening up from bending over to touch your toes)
  • Twists thigh away from the body
  • Lifts leg out to the side

Activities that cause gluteus maximus pain and symptoms:

  • Jumping
  • Falls
  • Swimming especially when using the flutter kick
  • Climbing
  • Deep knee bends
  • Repetitive lifting of heavy objects with knees bent (this may protect your back, but puts enormous strain on the glute max)
  • Prolonged sitting on hard surfaces
  • Sitting for long periods
  • Prolonged sitting on a wallet


Gluteus Maximus Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

You use the gluteus maximus muscle to straighten the leg at the thigh and to twist the leg outward and away from the body.

Interesting facts about the gluteus maximus:

The gluteus maximus is the muscle that allows humans to walk upright.

Clinical diagnoses to which the gluteus maximus muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Trochanteric bursitis
  • Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
  • Inflammation of the Sub Gluteus Medius Bursa
  • Sciatica
  • Hip Dislocation
  • Hip Pointer
  • Intervertebral Stenosis
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Tensor Fasciae Latae Syndrome
  • Cauda equina syndrome

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the gluteus maximus:

Satellite trigger points associated with the gluteus maximus muscle:

  • Gluteus medius
  • Gluteus minimus
  • Biceps Femoris
  • Semitendinosus
  • Semimembranosus
  • Iliopsoas
  • Rectus femoris
  • Pectineus
  • Tensor fasica latae

For detailed anatomy information:  
 Gluteus Maximus Anatomy

Help with Gluteus Maximus Muscle Pain

Cold Therapy Gel For Low Back, Hip and Buttocks Injury and Pain

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel and I recommend it for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries. It is better than warm therapy gels and creams for recent injury muscle pain as it cools the area much like ice and does not promote swelling. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. If your pain is from a recent injury to the glute muscles I would recommend applying Biofreeze across the low back, hips and entire buttock area.

Hot Cold Pack For Buttocks and Hips

CorPak Soft Comfort Hot & Cold Pack Wrap is a versatile pack that can be used to treat low back, buttocks and hips as well as other areas of the body. This pack works well for the glute muscles because of the large size. The pack is filled with pliable gel and has a soft frost free cover that will not irritate your skin. For recent injuries, use it cold to reduce swelling. For older injures or chronic pain use heat to relax the muscles and increase circulation.

Warm Therapy Gel For Low Back, Buttock and Hip Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel. is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. Unlike other over the counter heating creams, it provides warmth without burning heat.  Applying Sombra to the muscles across the lower back and down into the hips, buttocks and upper back of the thighs can help reduce pain and tightness caused by the gluteus maximus  muscle. I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and pain from arthritis.

Self Treatment For Gluteus Maximus Hip, Buttock, and Low Back Pain

Do you know that muscle 'knots' and other dysfunction in the gluteus maximus muscle can cause pain throughout the hips, buttocks, and low back?

If you are interested in treating back and hip pain caused by trigger points I recommend you purchase Claire Davies The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain ReliefMr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language. But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain, how to find the trigger point and treat it. He also provides stretching and strengthening exercises for each muscle. If you suffer from unresolved back, hip, buttock and leg pain I highly recommend this book. It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body. Relieving trigger points in the glute muscles have helped many people reduce or even resolve their low back, buttock, and hip pain issues. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.

Thera Cane To Easily Treat The Gluteus Maximus Muscle

The Thera Cane Massager is my first choice of purchase with the workbook for two reasons: First, you can easily reach the low back and buttocks without the need to bend or contort your body. Secondly, once you understand trigger points, you will find that you will want to treat other muscles and you may need help accessing the muscles. The Thera Cane allows you to easily treat all muscles of the body. If you have weak or arthritic hands, you may need a tool to help you use and hold the pressure required for trigger point treatment.  If you are buying the workbook, the Thera Cane is worth the investment!