The Gluteus Maximus Muscle is the largest and the outermost of the gluteal muscles. It stretches from the sacrum and coccyx, parts of the spinal column, down to the femur. The other gluteal muscles include the gluteus minimus and medius. They each have a role in the normal function of the hips and legs. They are prone to tightness resulting in soreness, aches, and pain around the hips and in and around the buttocks.
There are three rear-end muscles:
There is another group of diagonal muscles under the gluteus minimus that attaches to the femur. The uppermost is the piriformis that is attached to the sacrum. The sciatic nerve and major arteries run below it.
The primary function of the muscles is to open the hips and push the legs out. Sitting for long periods shortens the gluteal muscles causing them to become tight, limiting normal hip function. The gluteal muscles are susceptible to tightness brought on from overuse and lack of development/strength. This can develop into tender/tight muscle bands that interfere with the normal function of the muscles. To get an example of what is happening imagine flexing and contracting one of the bicep muscles 6-10 hours a day. It would be extremely sore, tight, and tender.
Athletes and individuals that are physically active can also have tight gluteal muscles. This can cause post-game/exercise muscle soreness. Intense activities force the gluteal muscles to work overtime to support the back and knees. Sports that require a lot of leg muscle activation include:
Individuals that move with an unusual gait are vulnerable to straining the muscles. What happens is the muscles become stiff from the awkward positions/postures. This places additional strain on the back and hip muscles and worsens their overall posture. The hip muscles are also attached to the pelvis, and when the muscles begin to tighten they can pull on the gluteal muscles. Irritation of the sacroiliac joint can also place pressure on the piriformis, causing spasms that affect the gluteal muscles. Piriformis muscle spasms can also place pressure on the sciatic nerve, causing sciatica.
An examination will be necessary to diagnose whether the soreness or pain is due to muscle inflammation or other cause. Sciatica symptoms and problems at the hip level that involves the gluteus minimus and medius can be felt in the leg. The examination includes seeing and feeling muscle reactions, responses, contractions through a series of motion exercises and movements that involve different muscles. Common treatment includes:
Tightness in the glutes can be managed with chiropractic treatment. This includes:
Simple exercises can help engage and strengthen the muscles. These include:
Individuals that sit for long periods of time, don’t get enough physical activity, and have an unhealthy diet can experience insulin resistance. This happens when insulin is not able to transport excess blood sugar out of the blood and into the muscles. A study found that women who sat for eight hours a day had an increased chance of developing diabetes. Diabetics can be inclined to have more fat within the body, specifically visceral fat. This further encourages insulin resistance. Diabetics also experience rapid loss of muscle mass as they age, intensifying symptoms and further affecting body composition.
Cochrane, Darryl J et al. “Does short-term gluteal activation enhance muscle performance?.” Research in sports medicine (Print) vol. 25,2 (2017): 156-165. doi:10.1080/15438627.2017.1282358
Coratella, Giuseppe et al. “The Activation of Gluteal, Thigh, and Lower Back Muscles in Different Squat Variations Performed by Competitive Bodybuilders: Implications for Resistance Training.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 18,2 772. 18 Jan. 2021, doi:10.3390/ijerph18020772
Distefano, Lindsay J et al. “Gluteal muscle activation during common therapeutic exercises.” The Journal of orthopedic and sports physical therapy vol. 39,7 (2009): 532-40. doi:10.2519/jospt.2009.2796
Kalyani, Rita Rastogi et al. “Age-related and disease-related muscle loss: the effect of diabetes, obesity, and other diseases.” The lancet. Diabetes & endocrinology vol. 2,10 (2014): 819-29. doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70034-8
Selkowitz, David M et al. “Which exercises target the gluteal muscles while minimizing activation of the tensor fascia lata? Electromyographic assessment using fine-wire electrodes.” The Journal of orthopedic and sports physical therapy vol. 43,2 (2013): 54-64. doi:10.2519/jospt.2013.4116
The information herein on "Tight, Sore, Painful Gluteal Muscles and Chiropractic Release" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional.
Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900.
We are here to help you and your family.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card
Introduction Anyone that has dealt with low back pain can describe it in various ways. Some may… Read More
Introduction As the world moves, so does the body. When the body does everyday movements like running,… Read More
Introduction The back and spine are bound to the musculoskeletal system, where they work together to… Read More