For the third part of our Lower Back Pain blog series, we look at the Gluteal Muscle Group


Gluteal muscles, specifically the glute medius and piriformis muscle can cause lower back pain or sciatic nerve pain when they are tight. The gluteal muscles are the main stabilizers for the hips and assist us with hip rotation, walking, running and going up and down steps. 

Causes of tight and weak glutes:

  • Too much sitting
  • Desk job
  • No exercise

 Symptoms include pain down the legs which are often mistaken as sciatic nerve pain.

The glutes are composed of three muscles all layered on top of each other: the gluteus maximusgluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. These muscles play a key role in facilitating daily activities, as they heavily influence the movement and positioning of the pelvis and lower spine.

Weak, underactive, or tight glutes can cause biomechanical imbalances in the pelvis and hips, as well as instability in the lower spine.

Tight glutes can cause as much lower back discomfort as weak glutes can, so overtraining these muscles or working in occupations that requires prolonged sitting can lead to tightness in the lower back area.

The Piriformis Muscle

The piriformis muscle is a muscle that can be found in the buttock area. It connects to the sacrum, the lowest part of the spine, and assists with lateral movement of the thigh and stabilizing of the lower spine.

A common dysfunctional movement pattern that is prevalent in patients with lower back pain is an overactive piriformis muscle compensating for underactive gluteal muscles.

Not only can this lead to pain in the lower back area, but underactive gluteal muscles can result in other tissues in the pelvis and lower back having to absorb various forces during daily activities, such as walking.

At Vive studios we do glute release massage on the glute medius and piriformis muscles. Once the glutes are released and more relaxed the back muscles in turn is more susceptible to the massage treatment and in turn the pain can disappear very quickly.