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What is Deep Gluteal Pain Syndrome?

Deep gluteal pain syndrome is a medical condition characterized by severe pain, numbness, or tingling in the buttock or hip that may radiate down the back of the leg. It occurs due to the compression of nerves such as the sciatic nerve and the pudendal nerve in the gluteal (buttock) region. Deep gluteal pain syndrome can include a group of conditions such as sciatica and piriformis syndrome which cause similar symptoms.

Picture of Femoral Cam Deformity

Causes of Deep Gluteal Pain Syndrome

Overstraining or injuring the buttock muscles and tendons can cause inflammation and compression of the nerves. The skin and blood vessels may also compress the nerves. The nerves may also get compressed as they pass through fibrous passages within the buttock. Some of the common causes of deep gluteal pain syndrome include:

  • Sitting for long periods
  • Exercising too much
  • Repetitive activities like running, walking, or climbing a lot of stairs
  • Playing sports, especially contact sports like football
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Automobile accidents or severe falls

Symptoms of Deep Gluteal Pain Syndrome

The signs and symptoms of deep gluteal pain syndrome include:

  • Tenderness in the buttock
  • Numbness or tingling that extends down the back of your leg
  • Pain with prolonged sitting
  • Severe pain in the lower body
  • Pain that gets worse with activities such as walking or exercise

Diagnosis of Deep Gluteal Pain Syndrome

Your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms and based on this a physical examination will be performed. Other conditions which can cause similar symptoms, such as lower spine conditions, are ruled out. Your doctor may recommend imaging tests for further analysis including:

  • X-rays: During this study, high electromagnetic energy beams are used to produce images of body parts.
  • CT scan: Multiplex-ray images are used to produce detailed images of the pelvic, buttock, and lower spine regions.

Treatment for Deep Gluteal Pain Syndrome

Deep gluteal pain syndrome can be managed by nonsurgical treatment including rest, ice, compression, activity modification. If these measures fail, you may require:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed to alleviate pain and swelling
  • Muscle relaxants to help tight muscles relax
  • Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the gluteal muscles
  • Electrotherapy(TENS) can help reduce severe pain and stop muscle spasms

Most cases of the deep gluteal syndrome can be managed by the above measures. If pain persists and affects your quality of life, your doctor may recommend surgery to relieve pressure on the nerve that is causing you pain.


Deep gluteal pain syndrome can be prevented by:

  • Regular exercise
  • Warming up and stretching before exercise
  • Rest if you develop hip or buttock pain with any activity
  • Avoid prolonged sitting