Cluneal Nerve Entrapment Treatment

Cluneal Nerve Entrapment is a condition where the cluneal nerves within the buttocks become entrapped or irritated, causing possible lower back and/or leg pain.

At Vitalis Physiotherapy, our treatment of Cluneal Nerve Entrapment aims to:

What is Cluneal Nerve Entrapment?

Within the spinal column, there are multiple nerves which innervate dynamic movement and sensory stimulation. One of these is the cluneal nerve, which is divided into three types:

  • Superior Cluneal Nerve (SCN)
  • Middle Cluneal Nerve (MCN)
  • Inferior Cluneal Nerve (ICN)

The cluneal nerves are located in the lumbar spine (lower back) and pelvic region. Nerve root irritation and entrapment of these nerves can contribute to lower back and upper leg/buttock pain. Nerves can also become ‘entrapped’ when muscle or fascia form tightly around the nerves or if adhesions develop between nearby tissue and the nerve. In the case of the Cluneal nerves this can happen around the iliac crest (top of the pelvis).  Nerve injuries often disrupt neural signals from the brain, which also affects range of movement and pain, felt both at the site and referred pain in nearby structures

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What is the cause of Cluneal Nerve Entrapment?

Cluneal Nerve irritation is usually caused by pressure/entrapment and nerve root irritation of the cluneal nerves. This pressure can stem from bone or disk protrusions, or inflamed muscle and tissue.

  • Fascial Entrapment – thickening of fibrous tissue – called the fascia – puts pressure against the nerves, causing pain and/or irritation
  • Lumbar disc herniation – prolapsed spinal discs pressing on nearby nerves
  • Acute injuries – car accident, falls, spinal fractures, etc.
    • Contact sports – susceptible to lower back injuries
  • Overuse of muscle – overstretching and overusing muscles can cause tightness or adhesions to form that press or entrap nerves
  • Imbalance – poor balance or instability can increase spinal kyphosis, in turn causing irritation and overstretching of the cluneal nerves
  • Differential diagnoses – conditions include muscle spasms, lumbar stenosis, scoliosis, vertebral fractures, and Parkinson’s disease, etc.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain – felt in the lower back or over the iliac crest,
    • Referred ‘burning’ pain in buttocks and upper leg
  • Stiffness/weakness with pelvic movement,
  • Tingling/numbness in toes or foot,
  • Worsened pain with movement,
  • Limping,
  • Comorbid or differential diagnoses of other nerve disorders, herniated discs, lumbar radiculopathy, arthritis, ligament tears, hip bursitis, fractures, etc.

Treatment for Cluneal Nerve Entrapment

If you suspect you have cluneal nerve entrapment and have pain in your lumar and pelvic regions, it is important to see a medical professional. You will likely be referred for imaging tests to determine the origin and extent of the injury or to rule out a differential diagnosis.


Physical therapy is highly beneficial in reducing nerve pain and inflammation. At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we tailor a unique treatment plan to aid in your recovery through:

  • Stretching, strengthening and/or conditioning exercises
  • Restoring range of movement
  • Postural improvement
  • Soft tissue mobilisations (massage)
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Dry needling
  • Taping
  • A unique home exercise program
  • Graded Exposure to load program

If the pain and reduced movement is severe, strenuous activity should be avoided. Your physiotherapist may also advise heat or ice application, rest and if necessary, anti-inflammatory pain medication. Additionally, they might recommend for you to use lumbar support, custom orthotics or other supportive footwear options.

How to book an appointment?

If you think you have cluneal nerve entrapment, or are looking for a physiotherapist near me, the team at Vitalis Physiotherapy can assess your condition to tailor a unique rehabilitation plan to aid in your pain relief and recovery.

All you need to do is just give us a call on 0410 559 856 and request an initial appointment. Please let our friendly reception staff know the background and severity of your condition.

You can visit our FAQs for more information about appointments at Vitalis Physiotherapy.


Need Help?

Are you in pain caused by Cluneal Nerve Entrapment? Contact Vitalis Physiotherapy now to book in your treatment.

Call our friendly team on 0410 559 856. We’d love to help.

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Sinnamon Park Village

3/58 Oldfield Road, Sinnamon Park Qld 4073


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