Have you ever been sitting in one position for a long time and felt a numbing sensation in the butt? Yes? Well, this is called “dead butt syndrome” (DBS) or more technically gluteal amnesia or gluteus medius tendinosis.
This syndrome can range in intensity, from an occasional numb bum to a condition that is more severe and comes with chronic pain.
What is dead butt syndrome?
DBS normally occurs due to the gluteal (butt) muscles, specifically, when the gluteus medius falls asleep and forgets to send important signals throughout your body, leading to a numb or even sore feeling.
The gluteus medius is an extremely valuable part of the body as it helps stabilize the back, hips, and knees, along with helping with movement like walking and running. If this important muscle does not work properly then it can cause other parts of the body to overcompensate, causing the pain to relocate to other areas like the knees, hips, lower back, or even shooting down the leg.
If the DBS is not treated, then there can be a loss of strength in the hip flexors or glutes. Over time this can make the glute muscles imbalanced.
Hip flexors are a group of muscles that are located in the front of the hip. They are important for leg movement and flexing motions, they are also needed to help move your knee toward your body. They are very crucial for walking or climbing up the stairs.
What causes dead butt syndrome?
The causes can vary. It has been known for a while that sitting all day can cause a lot of harm, from varicose veins to slowing down the metabolism. One of the most common triggers for DBS is either sitting down too much, incorrect sitting position, or not moving enough, which causes the butt muscles to lengthen and the hip flexors to tighten. Often the numbing or painful sensation can disappear when you get up, stretch, and walk.
The seating position can irritate the sciatic nerves. These are the nerves that are located in the middle of the glutes. Excess pressure on these nerves through bad sitting posture can cause irritation.
If you have a bonier butt and you are sitting on something too hard, then this can also cause problems as the nerves are not being cushioned enough.
People who run for a long time are also at high risk for this condition, as the strain of exercise can be too much for muscles and tendons – especially if they are sitting all day, as it causes the hip flexors to tighten. If the athlete fails to stretch this area of the body before running, then DBS can occur.
How do you test for dead butt syndrome?
One test that can be done is the Trendelenburg test. This is a type of physical exam where the person lifts one leg in front while standing. The medical practitioner can then determine if there is DBS if the pelvis dips down on the side of the body on which the leg is lifted. This dipping can suggest weakness of the glutes on the opposite side.
Another indication of DBS is if the person has a curve in their back. Any extreme curvatures in the lower back can indicate that the hip flexors are very tight.
How do you avoid dead butt syndrome?
Overall, to avoid all these problems, it is recommended that the glute muscles are kept strong and there are plenty of exercises that may help.
It also depends on how you get the dead butt syndrome. If it is due to sitting in one position too long, then it is recommended that the person get up once in a while, walk around or do some exercises. If it is due to a hard seating surface, then that person needs to get a cushion for their tush.
If the problems have occurred due to an athletic lifestyle, then it is advised for the person to take a break from the activity or follow the RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation).
Sometimes physical and massage therapy may be needed. In serious cases, platelet-rich plasma therapy may be used, which is an injection of the person’s own platelets.
The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.