Tense buttock muscles can contribute to lower back and hip pain. Butt massage can range from Swedish massage techniques for overall relaxation to specific deep massage techniques to address pain and injury.
Let's look at the muscles of the buttocks and then some massage techniques for these muscles.
The largest buttock muscle is the gluteus maximus. If you place your hand directly on you buttock, you are touching the gluteus maximus muscle (see the top image to the right). The gluteus maximus is one of the largest and strongest muscles in the body. The primary purpose of the gluteus maximus is hip extension (moving the thigh backward), especially in running and climbing hills. This muscle also helps extend the torso (think backbend) and rotate the thigh outward.
Underneath and slightly to the outside of the gluteus maximus is the gluteus medius muscle. The gluteus medius rotates the thigh inward (medial rotation) and moves it away from the centerline of the body (abduction). This muscle is very important in walking and helps stabilize your pelvis.
Underneath the gluteus medius is the small gluteus minimus, which assists gluteus medius.
On the outer edge of the buttock is the tensor fasciae latae, a small muscle that helps abduct and medially rotate the thigh. The tendon of the tensor fasciae latae goes all the way from the hip to the knee and is called the IT band.
Underneath the larger gluteal muscles are six muscles referred to as the deep lateral rotators. The bottom image on the right shows the gluteus maximus cut away so that you can see the smaller underlying muscles. All of these muscles attach from various points on the pelvic bone to the head (greater trochanter) of the thigh bone (femur). They are responsible for outward rotation of the thigh.
The piriformis is the largest and most well known of the deep lateral rotator muscles. When the piriformis is too tight, it can compress the sciatic nerve, causing pain in the buttocks and down the back of the leg. This condition is called piriformis syndrome or false sciatica.
The other five deep lateral rotators are the obturator internus, obturator externus, gemellus superior, gemellus inferior, and quaratus femoris. All these muscles help stabilize your hip joint.