When A Pain in the Ass is A Pain in the Ass

Piriformis syndrome

I got through my first three days of work and was ready to head out for my first day on my own, and wouldn’t you know it, I woke up with a pain in my ass.  I don’t just mean a bruise on my butt, or hemorrhoid pain, a true PAIN in my left buttock.  I went to bed fine and woke up barely able to get out of bed due to what felt like a muscle spasm in my left butt muscle. I was unable to stand up straight, or straighten out for that matter.  What happened in my mere 4.5 hours of sleep I don’t know.  I went to bed with a little nag in my upper left gluteal muscles and woke up barely able to get out of bed and put weight on my leg.  Great!!  With some not so graceful moves and a lot of grunts and moans, I  was finally able to get out of bed.  I  paced the kitchen floor for a full 30 mins before I called in to work and said I just couldn’t make it in.  No sick time, no holiday time, no pay for that day.

I decided to be proactive and went for an hour long deep tissue massage to attempt to loosen up the spasm.  After an hour of pain and torture, I hobbled out of the spa feeling worse than when I went in.  Not only that, by the end of the day, I noticed my entire left butt cheek was a mass of bruising.  I took an Epsom salt bath and drank lots of water when I got home.  I used ice packs and ibuprofen and I hobbled through the day.

The next day was just as bad!  Woke up, and with creative moves and lots of grunts, groans, and “owies” I was able to crawl to the bathroom.  Maybe that massage wasn’t such a good idea after all.  Went in to see a doctor at my PCP clinic with a spasm in my butt, and he listened to my heart and lungs, tapped my knees for reflexes and that was it! He prescribed a generous number of muscle relaxants and pain pills (that interacted with other of my meds), and wrote me a note to exuse me for the next 2 days I was scheduled to work.

I took the muscle relaxants at night and Ibuprofen throughout the days and 10 days later I felt I could make it through a 12 hour shift on my feet.  When all was said and done, I had missed 4 days of work – four days without pay.  There is nothing more frustrating than something like this, something I just woke up with, and it incapacitated me for most of a week!

I made it  back to work the last two days and I actually felt fine.  At the end of the second 12 hour shift I did feel a little tightness and twinging  in my left buttock, and this morning I have lost some ground. I am having pain not just in my buttock, I have pain down the back of me left leg as well.  Maybe it is a sign I am only to work two days back to back.  I did ask the Primary Care Doc for referral to Sports Medicine to get a  “real” evaluation and maybe a couple weeks of physical therapy to get me loosened up and give me a home program to prevent this from happening again (I had the same thing in my right buttock about 5-6 years ago).

The graphic above came up with search words: “pain in buttock” and depicts “exactly” what I am feeling.   Of course I immediately googled piriformis syndrome, and what do you know, bicyclists are prone to this due to an imbalance of the hip flexor and hip extensor muscles – exactly what my massage therapist has been telling me I have for months!  I guess it’s time to take this whole stretching thing more seriously as this is really beginning to be a pain in the ass! 🙂


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