The effects of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown have been felt in many areas. But it’s most profoundly felt on your ass. That’s right, work-from-home culture is apparently giving rise to the Dead Butt Syndrome. The beauty of the term is that it is self-explanatory. You may have not heard of it, but you can definitely feel it on your rear end.
Other names include gluteal amnesia, lower cross syndrome or gluteus medius tendinosis. It’s easy to see why we settled for “Dead Butt Syndrome.”
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It’s often a result of quite literally “sitting on your ass the whole day,” which results in gluteal muscles ( gluteus medius) “forgetting” how to activate themselves. That’s because constant sitting weakens butt muscles that help stabilize your hips and maintain proper posture.
You can test whether your butt is alive or dead with a single leg glute bridge. To demonstrate, here’s my lovely stick figure assistant.
Start with lying flat on your back with your knees bent.
Now lift your hips up in the air.
Kick a leg out and see if you can stay upright without wobbling and falling.
If you can’t, thy glutes hath forgotten. You have DBS.
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What if you have a dead butt?
This may come as a shock, but your comely behind is not just for show; they serve a larger purpose in movement and posture. Gluteus Maximus is the largest muscle in the body, making up 16% of the total cross-sectional area.
The ass muscles help in stabilising and mobilising you. Any muscle dysfunction can make your neuromuscular system compensate to allow normal movement. But this compensation can cause “overload” injuries.
As such, when this muscle is dysfunctional it does not stop movement or necessarily elicit symptoms of injury as compensation occurs. However, the resultant altered intrinsic muscle coordination and kinematics because of GM dysfunction may ultimately contribute to the numerous chronic ‘biomechanical overload’ type injuries.
Weak gluteus maximus can play a role in knee pain, ligament injuries, low back pain, hamstring strains, ankle sprains, etc.
Death of gluteal muscles isn’t necessarily a death knell for your butt. Activating the glutes can be as easy as getting up from your chair and taking a quick walk.
Wise people on the internet also recommend doing some quick butt-friendly exercises. Here to demonstrate, is my lovely assistant.