Dead Butt Syndrome Is a Real Health Concern & It's Easier to Get Than You Think


Somewhere down the line, society came up with the idea that we humans should sit at a desk from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., stare at a computer screen, and call that productivity. 

Many of us are all too familiar with this kind of sedentary lifestyle. We're also familiar with the scientific knowledge that it isn't very good for our health, and can eventually lead to heart disease or diabetes. But did you know that it can also lead to a condition called dead butt syndrome?


Yes, this is for real. 

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Also known as gluteal amnesia, dead butt syndrome occurs when the gluteus medius, which is one of three muscles located in the butt, is so infrequently engaged, it "forgets" how to work properly. Essentially, your muscle is desensitized from sitting (and with poor posture as well) too much.

"Prolonged sitting can also create a 'laminating effect' between the muscle fibers, in which the continual compression of the tissue causes them to get tacked down, losing their elasticity and ability to contract optimally," Chris Kolba, a physical therapist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Self.

This weakness can result in pain in your lower back or hips or cause problems with your knees and ankles. Your body is trying to adjust and compensate for the imbalance, which strains other muscles and can lead to injuries.

Despite its pretty foreboding name, dead butt syndrome itself doesn't cause any direct pain; it only contributes to the stresses on your other muscles, which makes it difficult to detect.

Even regularly working out can lead to gluteal amnesia -- that is, if you don't engage those glute muscles enough.

It's relatively simple to test if your butt is dead. A doctor can conduct a physical exam, which consists of lifting up one leg while standing and seeing if the pelvis dips down on the lifted leg side. The spine's curvature can also give indication, since tight hip flexors could pull the spine forward. You can also check out yourself by standing up with a belt on -- if the belt drops toward the front and isn't parallel to the floor, it could mean you have an anterior pelvic tilt caused by uncontracted glutes.
But there's good news -- it's reversible. Just incorporate regular exercises that targets the three booty muscles. "Plies work your hidden but necessary 'middle butt,' the gluteus medius, while squats, lunges, and bridges will work your gluteus maximus," celebrity trainer Sara Lewis told Self. You should also take more breaks during your day -- walk around, stretch, do jig ... you get the picture. Consider setting a phone alarm to remember to do this.

The main point is to keep switching up your routine so that your body doesn't fall into a repetitive cycle. It'll be worth the effort, since we only get one precious booty in this life.  
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