It’s no secret that prolonged sitting has many adverse effects on your health and body structure. By now most of us suffer from severe back aches, stiffened shoulder problems and much more, but beyond these there is one particular body part that is affected and we don’t pay much heed to it. That’s your butt.
Yes, it’s your bums that support your body for all those hectic hours and it’s slowly dying (sort of).
Apart from obesity, rheumatic disorders, diabetes there’s another health risk from sitting all day that most people don’t know about: Gluteal Amnesia, or commonly known as Dead Butt Syndrome. Even though the name might be funny, the condition and its risks are not. And it’s high time everyone tied to their desk for long hours start taking care of their derriere.
What is Dead Butt Syndrome?
It is a fairly common condition and many people may be suffering from it without realising. Dead butt syndrome, is quite self-explanatory – when your hindquarters remain inactive for long, the muscles on your bums forget how to function properly. Be it from sitting in front of the computer all day long at the office to cramping on a couch while binge-watching your favourite TV series, you too could be at risk of a dead or forgetful butt.
How can one develop this condition?
Dead butt syndrome develops when the gluteus medius — one of the three main muscles in the buttocks — stops functioning correctly. “That can happen if you spend too much time parked in a chair,” Kristen Schuyten, a physical therapist at Michigan Medicine told CNN.
“But it can also occur in very active individuals who just don’t engage the glute muscles enough,” she warned.
Adverse effects of the condition
Since the gluteus medius helps in stabilising the pelvis, gluteal amnesia can not only lead to severe lower back pain and hip pain, but also cause problems in the knees and ankles, as the body tries to compensate for the imbalance. Sadly, for those who live a sedentary lifestyle, hip flexor muscles can become short and rigid over the 8-hour work day, which, in turn, affect the glutes through a process known as reciprocal inhibition. The process that describes the give-and-take relationship between muscles on either side of a joint. “In general, when one muscle contracts, a nerve signal is sent to its opposing muscle to relax,” Andrew Bang, a chiropractor at the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, has been quoted in several publications. Weakened glutes can force surrounding muscles in the back and legs to compensate, creating strain and pressure in other muscle areas thereby causing enough reasons for constant or reoccurring pain in lower parts of your body.
However, Bang warns that the condition can occur in people with very active lifestyle too, such as marathon runners and hikers, among others. Highly active people who have very strong quads or hamstrings can develop this condition if there is a similar type of muscle imbalance.
How can you avoid the condition?
We all have been warned repetitively to take regular stretching and exercise breaks during office hours. However, hectic schedules and deadlines may not allow that, but it’s time you take those warnings seriously. But while exercising, remember to incorporate a few squats and walking lunges into your daily routine.Along with squats and bridges, lying down leg lifts are a good move to add to your routine, Bang added.
“Sit on an exercise ball for part of the day. Spend some time standing up, working at a high countertop. Whatever you do, just don’t allow your body to get into a repetitive cycle.” he recommended.