Is “Dead Butt Syndrome” For Real?

dead butt syndrome

Photo: Beth Ohara to Wikimedia Creative Commons

Dead Butt Syndrome.  It has a great ring to it.  It calls to mind an image of someone who’s sitting on the couch watching TV for hours at a time.  The ironic thing about Dead Butt Syndrome is that it mostly affects athletic people.  Why is that?  Because unless you are a professional athlete, most active people have jobs that require them to sit for close to eight hours a day!  It’s been said that our day jobs are killing our running!

Why is sitting so bad for us?  One aspect is that sitting in a typical office chair puts our psoas muscles (hip flexors) in a shortened position.  When a muscle is contracted, it relaxes a muscle on the opposite side of the joint (through a concept called Reciprocal Inhibition).  Well that’s great if it means your triceps are relaxing to allow you to lift a dumbbell in a bicept curl, but when we’re talking about this type of sustained contraction, it’s NOT A GOOD THING for the muscle on the other side to be relaxed for eight hours!  The butt muscles (gluteals) actually “turn off” in this scenario, leaving us with a dead butt.  The good news is that Dead Butt Syndrome can be corrected through a multifactorial approach:

Stretching:

Taking breaks from sitting to stretch out your psoas muscles can help break the cycle.  Try exercise #2 from 5 Yoga Poses to Alleviate Sciatica.

Address the adhesions:

If this condition has been building up for some time, adhesions may be present in both the psoas and gluteal muscles.  Active Release Techniques is one treatment that reduces the adhesions.

Strengthening:

Exercises for the glut. max and glut. medius will help restore some strength and function to our “dead” glutes.

Taking a combination approach or stretching, reducing the adhesions, and strengthening will give you the best chance at resolving the dreaded “Dead Butt Syndrome”.

If you would like more information about Active Release Techniques in Oakland, please call us at (510) 465-2342.

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  1. […]  The gluteal muscles get “shut off” thanks to tight hip flexors, a condition known as DEAD BUTT SYNDROME.  The glutes don’t fire as quickly and as strongly as they should, and this results in […]