Bum numb when sitting down? Why it happens and what to do

Everyone’s experienced sleepy bum syndrome at some point in their lives: you sit down for long periods of time, whether it be at the office or the cinema, and when you lift yourself to get up, your bum has gone to sleep! Whilst this is fairly common and not normally a reason to panic, there are a number of reasons to explain why bum numbness occurs, and what to do to prevent it.

numb bum when sitting down

What causes bum to go numb when sitting down?

Bum numbness – or should we say bumbness? – can be caused by several factors, including glute amnesia, a pinched nerve, nerve and muscle trauma, as well as several (rarer) medical conditions, including Cauda equina syndrome, Ankylosing spondylitis, and Piriformis syndrome.

Common causes of bum numbness

Glute Amnesia (or sleepy bum syndrome)

The most common cause of bum numbness is glute amnesia: glute amnesia occurs when the glute muscle remains inactive for long periods of time, leading to an elongated glute that doesn’t activate correctly. Glute amnesia can produce numbness as one of its symptoms, alongside pain in the calves and back. Glute amnesia is super common due to our modern, office job lifestyles: sitting on a chair for the best part of the day is not exactly ideal for keeping your booty muscles engaged! Even daily joggers and long distance runners can develop glute amnesia, as certain forms of cardio don’t activate the glute muscles. For more information on glute amnesia and its causes, take a look at our guide here.

How to fix glute amnesia?

Glute amnesia can be fixed by simply working out your glute muscles. Forget running or other forms of cardio, what you need to wake up sleepy glutes is strength training targeting all three glute muscles. Whether you go for squats, lunges, hip thrusts, or glute bridges, you need to incorporate weighted resistance if you really want to wake your glutes up fast. Whilst there are no specific glute-amnesia exercises for waking up sleepy glutes, it is possible to reverse glute amnesia within a month if you persist with lower body workouts and keep your muscles engaged throughout the day.

Other ways to help fix glute amnesia:

  • Take regular breaks from your desk if you have an office job
  • Squeeze your glutes when you’re sitting at your desk (yes, really!)
  • Incorporate an under-the-desk glute squeezing exercise so your glutes remain active even whilst seated
  • Outside of work, try to avoid too many long periods of sitting (watching television, on transport, at the cinema or restaurant.) Where possible, walk and move regularly.

Piriformis syndrome

Another reason why the bum goes numb when sitting down is Piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome is a common condition typically seen in women over the age of 30, which occurs when one or both of the two Piriformis muscles is damaged during strenuous exercise or injury. Symptoms of Piriformis syndrome include bum numbness when sitting down, pain in one or both sides of the back, as well as shooting pain in one or both legs. Whilst Piriformis syndrome is not a medical emergency, it merits a visit to your GP nonetheless.

How do I fix Piriformis syndrome?

Piriformis syndrome is typically diagnosed with an MRI scan and is usually treated with rest, as well as prescription anti-inflammatories. In order to prevent Piriformis syndrome, make sure to include an adequate warm-up in your exercise routine, and don’t overextend your body when working out. Know your limits and focus on your form before moving on to higher repetitions or heavier weights.

Less Common Causes of Bum Numbness When Sitting Down:

If you’ve tried everything above and your glutes are still tingling and numb after sitting down, you might want to take a look at the following conditions in order to rule out any rarer, underlying problems:

Sciatic nerve irritation

If you’ve recently suffered an injury that impacted the sciatic nerve (for example, a back injury) this might explain your bum numbness. Trauma to the sciatic nerve is usually accompanied by weakness in your lower body (primarily the legs) as well as shooting pains and burning sensations. These symptoms should improve as your injury improves, but if your symptoms persist even when your injury is healed, it’s best to consult a doctor to inquire about any potential lingering nerve damage.

How to fix sciatic nerve irritation?

If you’re currently treating a back injury, the best way to fix any secondary sciatic inflammation is to rest and continue to follow the medical orders given for treating your injury. Don’t do any strenuous exercise until it is signed off by your doctor.

Cauda Equina Syndrome

A rarer cause of bum numbness, Cauda Equina Syndrome is a condition that requires medical attention as soon as possible. Symptoms of Cauda Equina Syndrome include pain in the lower back, shooting pain to the bum as well as weakened lower body. If these symptoms correspond to you, seek medical attention immediately.

How to fix Cauda Equina Syndrome?

Cauda Equina Syndrome constitutes a medical emergency, so must be handled by a medical professional.

How to treat bum numbness at home

If you’re sure that your bum tingling isn’t a cause for concern and you want some quick relief at home, try these DIY remedies:

  • Rest. Unless you have glute amnesia, constant numbness and pain in the glutes can point to an injury in the surrounding area.
  • Rest for a couple of days (i.e., no exercise) and see if it makes a difference.
  • Gel pads
  • Low-impact glute exercises

When to see a doctor about bum numbness when sitting down?

It’s always a good idea to consult a medical professional if you have lingering pain or numbness that doesn’t get better or improve over time. Whilst it’s probably not serious, it’s best to get professional advice so that you will be able to rule out certain conditions and focus on a plan for recovery. See a doctor if you have the following symptoms which persist over time: (alongside bum numbness when sitting down)

  • Bum tingling
  • Leg weakness
  • Shooting pains in the lower body
  • Leg pain that doesn’t improve with rest
  • Back pain
  • Shooting pain in the back


I’m Chloe – a body confidence writer here at House of Peach! I help women to feel fabulous in the body they’re in and feel amazing in gym wear – regardless of their body shape and type. Unleash Your Peach.

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