The name may sound funny, but the truth is that dead butt syndrome (DBS) – or dead butt syndrome – is something very real and annoying that occurs when certain parts of the buttock ‘forget’ their function and cause discomfort, pain, stiffness, and numbness in other parts of the body, such as the knees.
Associated especially with sedentary lifestyle, paradoxically it also tends to occur in athletes, but the good news is that, with some guidelines, it is easily preventable,
What is and what causes DBS?
The clinical term for this condition is median gluteal tendinopathy, although it is also often referred to as gluteal amnesia or, colloquially, dead butt syndrome. This occurs when certain gluteal muscles (the middle and the minimus) weaken, lengthen and ‘forget’ their function, which is to support the pelvis and keep your body in proper alignment. When this does not occur, inflammation of the gluteus medius tendons occurs and stress and pressure is placed on other muscles in the hip area, including the hip flexors.
The main cause of the weakening of these muscles is sedentary lifestyle, sitting on them for a long time, but it is also a common condition among athletes and ballet dancers because the muscles and tendons spend long periods in the same positions.
And, if the hip flexors are tense and not stretched, as they are responsible for moving the legs when walking, running or climbing stairs, an episode of dead butt syndrome can easily be triggered. People who sleep on their sides, in the fetal position, are also more likely to suffer from weakness of these muscles, as well as women from the age of 40.
What symptoms does it cause
When the gluteal muscles cannot properly support the pelvis, it can cause aches and pains in the surrounding muscles and tendons. Thus, when suffering from dead butt syndrome, pain and inflammation in the lower back , pelvis, hips and even knees are common, as well as numbness and stiffness, especially when walking or sitting.
The pain can even go down the leg and remind of the dreaded sciatica. It can also cause balance problems. In the long term, more serious problems can appear in the area, as well as the knees and ankles.
The definitive diagnosis must be made by a professional, but, in addition to the symptoms described, there are other signs that can make us suspect gluteal amnesia.
The glute bridge is a basic exercise.
• Pain when sitting cross-legged.
• Pain when sitting with the knees together.
• Yes, standing up, moving the hips to one side , we feel pain.
• Yes, standing, we feel pain with one ankle crossed over the other.
• If, when lying on the side , in a fetal position, it hurts in the hips or lower back.
• Doing the pelvic bridge. As we lift our hips, we feel tension in our lower back or hamstrings, rather than our glutes.
• If we have an anterior pelvic tilt. To check it, we can put you on your side, in front of a mirror. If the place where the belt buckle would be placed points slightly towards the ground instead of forward, we can suspect dead butt syndrome.
• Taking the Trendelenburg Test. To do this, you have to stand up, lift one leg and extend it forward. If, when touching the pelvis on the side that we have raised the leg, we notice that it is sunken, it is a sign that there is dead butt syndrome on the opposite side.
In many cases, especially if the syndrome has progressed a lot, it will be necessary to carry out medical and rehabilitative treatment, based on anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, physiotherapy, etc. For severe tendon and muscle injuries, it may even be necessary to resort to platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapies or similar treatments.
Once the acute phase is over, the main objective will be to strengthen the gluteal muscles involved in this syndrome. To do this, it is best to wake up the butt with specific exercises , which serve both to ‘resuscitate’ the buttock and to prevent DBS. They are exercises that can be done at home two or three times a week, without having to go to a gym. These are some examples of simple exercises to wake up your butt, but there are countless of them.
• Squats. The classic squats are one of the best ways to keep your glute in tip-top shape. To perform them, with the legs apart, the knees must be bent until the thighs are almost parallel to the ground, taking care not to damage the knee.
• Buttock bridge. It is one of the best exercises to wake up the gluteus medius. To do this, we have to lie down, bend the knees at about 90º, raise the hips, lower it and repeat.
•Dead weight. This exercise is done standing up with your legs straight. Taking weight with our hands – weights, some large water bottles, etc. – we lower our arms towards our feet.
• Climb stairs . In addition to excellent cardiovascular work, climbing stairs is a very effective exercise to wake up the glutes.
• Running and lateral walks, which activate the gluteus medius and minimus.
Lidl elastic bands that help tone the buttocks.
• Leg raises. T umbados, we raise your legs straight and down several times without touching the ground.
In addition, it is very important to avoid sitting for a long time . It is enough to get up every hour for a couple of minutes and walk or stretch to prevent the buttock from going numb.
To feel the effects, you have to be constant, because waking up your butt after years of inactivity takes time. Although it costs, in the long run it will have great benefits for our health, as maintaining strong glutes helps prevent back, hip, knee and even ankle problems.