Superior Gluteal Nerve: Entrapment, Treatment and Release

It’s common for patients to come into a chiropractor or physical therapy office experiencing pain in the sciatic nerve or the superior gluteal nerve and believe that they have piriformis syndrome, a sciatic nerve disorder. Many of these patients are looking for a treatment to stimulate, mobilize and release this nerve from its surrounding muscles that are creating an entrapment syndrome in the sciatic nerve. I find that often times treatment is unsuccessful because the sciatic nerve and it’s interaction with piriformis is over misdiagnosed and entrapment of the superior gluteal nerve isn’t included as part of the treatment options. When the superior gluteal nerve and artery are blocked by muscle, fascia or scar tissue this is known as superior gluteal nerve entrapment syndrome.

Symptoms of Superior Gluteal Nerve Entrapment

  • Sudden intense gluteal pain
  • Tenderness with palpation or self compression of the gluteal region (you can test yourself)
  • Weakness of abduction (Leg away from body) and in severe cases can make you waddle like a duck while walking (waddling gait)
  • Mimic or even cause the sciatic nerve to create pain down the back of the leg (sciatica) due to its artery supply to become blocked. Nerves need oxygen!!
  • This nerve originates from the L4, L5 and S1 nerve roots of the lumbar spine, so low back pain is commonly present.

Superior Gluteal Nerve: Entrapment, Treatment and Release

Outside of sciatic nerve entrapment, the superior gluteal nerve can also sustain injury, damage from entrapment that eventually leads to paresis, nerve injury or muscle weakness. This is referred to as superior gluteal nerve entrapment syndrome. When this peripheral nerve experiences entrapment, superior gluteal nerve patients report sudden intense gluteal pain, weakness of the hip gluteal adbuctors such as the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The tensor fascia late which is normally innervated by the superior gluteal nerve might also experience entrapment and benefit from fascia mobilization to release the nerve from it’s surrounding muscles such as the gluteus medius.

At this clinic we specialize in nerve injuries from entrapments by creating stimulation and release of the superior gluteal nerve away from structures that may block the superior gluteal nerve’s arterial blood flow, which can create pain and nerve damage.

Treatment of Superior Gluteal Nerve Entrapment Syndrome

  • Identify location where gluteal nerve compression is occurring.
  • Use Transverse nerve mobilization Technique to increase gluteal nerve’s mobility at the nerves exit point at the foremen (hole it exits pelvis) (Invented by Dr. Justin Dean)
  • Address muscle weakness in the gluteal muscles, core strength, coordination and proprioception of the hip joint.

Think you’re experiencing superior gluteal nerve entrapment and need help?  Click here to reach out to Dr. Dean directly or comment with any questions below.