Cellulite is never a desired body feature, but for some sufferers it can actually be painful. This most often occurs in people who are overweight. Women most often see cellulite on the buttocks, hips and thighs. Men will more often have it on the abdomen or neck. Cellulite is a common problem, but not everyone will end up with painful cellulite. A significant lifestyle change may be needed to address the problem.
For some people, painful cellulite means tenderness when an area with cellulite is touched. Others report a dull ache in areas with cellulite. Pain can occur for more people when they sit or lay in certain positions, or when they move certain ways. Painful cellulite manifests when the fat cells that the cellulite consists of bunch together, putting pressure against a person’s skin. Cellulite, in general, originates from fibrous connective cords that attach skin to underlying muscle, according to the Mayo Clinic.
These cords connect skin to deeper structures, and a person’s fat lies in between. As fat cells accumulate, they push up on the skin, even as the cords pull down. The result is the classic orange-peel appearance of cellulite.
Painful cellulite can occur at the stage 3 level of cellulite based on the Nurnberger-Muller scale, which was developed by doctors seeking way to distinguish between varying levels of cellulite seen on patients. At stage 3 a person has visible dimpling, both standing and lying down, and may have raised areas and nodules, according to Bass & Boney Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The other stages are as follows: Stage 0 shows no dimpling when lying down or standing, and a pinch test shows folds in skin but no visible cellulite. Stage 1 shows no dimpling when lying or standing, but skin shows cellulite when pinched. In stage 2, cellulite is only visible when standing but not when lying down.