Pain in buttocks shooting down legs is referred to as sciatica it’s the back pain caused by a problem with the sciatic nerve. This nerve is large that runs from the lower back down to the back of each leg sometimes one sometimes both.

When any injury happens or something puts pressure on the sciatic nerve, it can cause pain in the lower back that spreads to the buttocks, and leg but good thing us that almost 90% of people recover from this pain without any surgery. Everything related to pain in buttocks shooting down leg is discussed in this article keep reading.


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What are the symptoms pain in buttocks shooting down leg?

The very most common symptom  of this issue is lower back pain that extends through the hip down and to buttock and down one leg. The pain typically  affects only one leg but may get worse while   sitting , during a cough, or during a sneeze. The leg can also feel numb, weak, or even tingly at sometimes. The symptoms of this issue or we can say sciatica tend to appear suddenly but can last for days or weeks


What are the causes of pain in buttocks shooting down leg?

Mostly people who get this type of pain that shooting and goes down to leg are between the ages of 30 and 50. Women are more likely to develop the problem due to pregnancy as in that because of pressure on the sciatic nerve keeps increasing from the developing uterus, various other causes include  herniated disk and degenerative arthritis in the spine.

The most common cause of this type of pain  is a herniated disk. Disks are something that acts like cushions between the vertebrae of the spine. With ruse in age these disks get weaker  and are more prone to injury. It happens often in old age or in general the gel-like center of a disk pushes through its outer lining, pressing on the roots of the sciatic nerve and leading to pain . Disks are very common these days especially in women, in old age people or people who do heavy work.

The wear and tear of the vertebrae naturally can lead to narrowing of spinal canal and this narrowing is called spinal stenosis, it can put pressure on the roots of the sciatic nerve causing pain the buttock which runs down to legs. Spinal stenosis is way more common in people who are over age 60.

Rarely in few cases, sciatica may result from tumours growing inside or even along the spinal cord or sciatic nerve. As the tumour grows, it can obviously put pressure on the nerves which branch off from the spinal cord.

The piriformis is the muscle found deep into inside the buttocks area , which connects the lower spine to the upper thighbone and runs directly over the sciatic nerve. If due to any reason this muscle goes into spasm, it can directly  put pressure on the sciatic nerve, triggering symptoms of pain in buttock area then to legs. Piriformis syndrome undoubtedly more  commonly seen in women but this condition can affect men who wear their wallet in the back pocket of their jeans mostly  as this puts chronic pressure on the piriformis muscle which can aggravate the sciatic nerve with time and lead to pain. This problem can be easily avoided by putting wallet in the jacket instead of back of the pant

Sacroiliitis is the type of an inflammation of one or both of the sacroiliac joints,  it’s the spot where the lower spine connects to the pelvis. Sacroiliitis can cause pain in the body specifically in buttocks, lower back, and may even extend down to one or both legs. The pain may worsen sometimes by prolonged standing or by climbing stairs. Sacroiliitis itself can be caused by arthritis, or any injury, in pregnancy, or by infection.

Other causes of  Pain in buttocks shooting down leg     include muscle inflammation, some type of infection, or injury like a fracture. In general, we can say any such condition that irritates or compresses the sciatic nerve can trigger these symptoms. In some cases, no specific cause is found it remains idiopathic. .

Sometimes it’s called wear-and-tear arthritis it’s a very  common condition which many people develop with rising age. It can happen in any joint in the body, however , most often develops in weight-bearing joints, like the hip. This osteoarthritis of the hip in particular causes pain and stiffness to this level that it can make it hard to do everyday activities like bending to do some activity like rising from a chair, or taking a small walk. Although we all know there is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are many treatment options to help in pain management.

AVN of the femoral head is a pathologic condition which results when there is  interruption of blood supply to the bone. AVN of the hip is not completely understood, however this condition is the final common pathway of traumatic or nontraumatic factors which compromise the already precarious circulation of the femoral head. As we know the femoral head ischemia results in the death of marrow and even osteocytes and mostly  results in the collapse of the necrotic part.


How to diagnose Pain in buttocks shooting down leg?

To determine whether this pain due to sciatica, the concerned doctor will ask the patient how the pain started and what exactly is the location. One may be asked to do a squat, walk on the heels or toes, or raise the leg without bending the knee something like that to check severity. These muscle tests  help the doctor to determine if it is the sciatic nerve that is irritated or is it something else.

The doctor may sometimes order imaging tests, like  an MRI, to get more information related to  the location and cause of the irritated nerve. An MRI is used as it’s  shows the alignment of vertebral disks, ligaments, and muscles in the back. A CT scan with a contrast dye can also provide a useful picture of the spinal cord and nerves and rest of the structures in the back. Determining the cause of Pain in buttocks shooting down leg can help guide the course of treatment. X-rays are mostly used to check bony abnormalities but can’t detect any nerve problems.


What is the treatment for pain in buttocks shooting down leg?

There are steps few simple steps one can take at home to ease the pain . A heating pad or the ice pack can be especially helpful to ease pain. Apply these packs of heat or ice for about 20 minutes in every two hours. Experiment between the two to see which provides more relief, or try one can try alternating between the two.

Over-the-counter pain medications are very helpful and can provide short-term relief from pain like Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like  aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are few options. The doctor may give a steroid injection to further reduce the inflammation if drugs don’t work or if pain is severe.

While this pain is healing, try to remain active don’t be motionless. Surprisingly motion can actually help to reduce inflammation and pain.  One should visit a physical therapist who can show how to gently stretch the hamstring and lower back so it eases the pain. Studies have shown practicing yoga can help stabilize the affected area and strengthen the core to great extent. Depending on ones medical condition, certain exercises can not be recommended so it’s better to check with the doctor as well. Doctor might  also recommend taking short walks for 20 minutes.

In extreme severe cases, a doctor may sometimes  recommend injecting steroids into the spine area to reduce inflammation as soon as possible as this way  delivers the medication directly to the area around the sciatic nerve and person can get relief soon

If the pain or we can say sciatica is due to a herniated disk, and it’s still causing severe pain after passing of four to six weeks, surgery may be an option as there is no other way out . The surgeon will mostly remove a portion of the herniated disk to relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve which in turn reduces the pain . Studies show about 90% of patients get relief by this type of surgery so yes surgery is the last resort.

After the back surgery is performed, one will generally need to avoid driving, lifting, or bending forward for about a month or more than that . The concerned doctor may recommend physical therapy to help a person in strengthing the muscles of the back to regain strength . Once the recovery is complete, there’s an excellent chance in most cases that one will be able to get back to all the usual activities.

There is some evidence that few massages, yoga, and chiropractic adjustments can relieve typical lower back pain. But more research is needed to fully determine whether or not these therapies are helpful for this type of pain that is sciatica.


What are the ways of Preventing Pain in buttocks shooting down leg ?

If any person experiences once, there’s a chance it will return. But there are few steps that one can take to reduce the odds of it happening again.:

All These steps can help a person to avoid back injuries that may lead to pain in buttocks shooting down leg.


Take away

Pain in buttocks shooting down leg can be caused by many things and medical conditions mentioned above. Sometimes it can be serious issue and needs medical intervention like in tumours or AVN , other times it can be due to over activity or sitting for long period of times. If you are experiencing such pain and it doesn’t get away with rest or little exercise or if you having any other associated symptoms see with a consultant for sure.