‘Dead Butt Syndrome’ What Is It?
Dead Butt Syndrome (DBS) is a real thing despite how funny it sounds.
DBS takes twice as long to correct as it does to develop, so prevention is key. It can cause back and hip pain, balance problems, abnormal muscle function, and inflammation.
Unlike our ancestors, we tend to sit a lot. Whether driving a vehicle for long periods, working at a desk, playing video games, or writing all day like me, we have our butts parked in a chair. Engrossed in our computer activities, hours can go by without us moving. Sometimes it’s not until we have to go to the bathroom, or our stomach tells us it’s time to eat something.
How many times have you stood up, and all of a sudden you realize you have legs? Oooh, that feels good to stand up. Right?
I think we have all been there.
Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle
Numerous studies are showing the negative health benefits of being sedentary.
Some of those health issues include:
- Increased risk for obesity
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- A shorter life span.
I am sure I have missed some, but what I want to talk about today is ‘Dead Butt Syndrome’ or DBS otherwise known as Medius Tendinosis. DBS is not well-known and, therefore, may go undiagnosed.
When we sit for extended periods, the blood flow is restricted to the muscles in our tush. These muscles are called the gluteus muscles, and they are very powerful but not designed to bear weight for long periods. Smaller, weaker muscles take up the slack and can cause an imbalance which can create undue stress on other body parts like the hips and back.
The compression of the glutes and lack of blood flow can cause paresthesia. Have you ever fallen asleep on your arm, and it gets numb and loses feeling?
That is what can happen to your butt.
There are other causes as well, like an underlying nerve issue or an imbalance somewhere causing tendon inflammation.
However, the majority of cases are due to inactivity and sitting too long.
We take our glutes for granted, but they are very important muscles.
Why Are Strong Glutes Important?
Strong gluteal muscles support the spine and stabilize the pelvis, which is needed for a healthy posture.
Mobility and Balance
The glutes are very powerful muscles essential for movements like walking, running, and climbing stairs. Strong glutes are necessary for stabilization and support mobility and balance.
Decreases Risk for Knee, Hip, and Back Injury
Strong glutes protect high-risk areas of the body such as your knees, hamstrings, and lower back.
Your ability to perform simple daily activities is dependent on having a strong derriere. Strong glutes can help you avoid sprains and tears in your back muscles and support proper spine alignment.
Prevent Back Pain
If the glutes are not strong enough to do their job, the psoas muscle will take up the slack. The psoas is a deep-set core muscle that supports the back and a lot more. If the psoas is overstimulated, the lower back can become compressed, resulting in pain.
How Do You Know if You are Developing DBS?
If you are starting to develop DBS, you may notice an uncomfortable sensation around your glutes as well as around your hip joint. Getting up from a chair may be particularly uncomfortable. It may feel like a deep or dull ache, tight, and may have the sensation of weakness and difficulty engaging those muscles.
The tendons can become inflamed through underuse. It may be necessary to see your medical provider for treatment.
How is Dead Butt Syndrome Treated
Despite the name, your butt muscles are not really dead. Any exercise that targets the glutes will effectively treat DBS. Specific exercises will reactivate and wake up those sleeping muscles. However, your medical provider may have you start with rest, anti-inflammatories, and ice before engaging in exercise to avoid further inflammation.
How To Avoid Dead Butt Syndrome
The best way to avoid DBS is to keep your glutes activated. Standing at your desk is ideal for preventing DBS and contributes to many health benefits.
If you have to sit all day, take frequent breaks. Set a timer every hour and get up and walk around, do a few squats, or climb some stairs. You need to spend 10 minutes activating your muscles for every hour you sit. Stand while you are talking on the phone. Try using a yoga ball to sit on as it allows you to easily and frequently shift your weight.
Movement and variety is the key to keeping muscles activated.
Specific Exercises to Get Those Weak Glutes Back Into Shape
These exercises should be performed approximately 2–4 times a week but keeping your glutes activated frequently throughout the day is also necessary.
Since I am not a fitness coach and because there are MANY different glute exercises you can choose from, I am not going to go into every exercise.
I highly recommend that everybody get a fitness instructor to develop an exercise program that will work for you and ensure you are using good form.
Some basic glute exercises that you can start with are:
Here is a great video that shows four effective exercises that work every part of your tush.
Want a 15-minute glute activation routine? Got you covered. Caroline Jordan will be your workout buddy with this awesome video.
I hope you found this information helpful and that it prevents you from ever getting the dreaded dead butt syndrome.