What is dead butt syndrome and how do you fight it?

Sitting behind a desk for hours on end at work kills the back and neck! Maybe you know dead butt syndrome? Find out what how to solve it.

Dead butt syndrome, also known as 'gluteal amnesia,' manifests as your butt going numb, sometimes even hurting, after you sit for a long time. This pain, which starts in your glutes, can, in some cases, spread down to your legs, like sciatica.

Gluteal amnesia: what are the risk factors?

This feeling that your butt is asleep is due to your glute muscles not contracting for quite a bit of time and basically being on standby - because you're no longer getting up, walking, climbing up stairs, bending over to pick things up… You get the point! You're sitting down, all but glued to your chair.

As funny as its name may sound, this syndrome can, unfortunately, lead to other physical issues: when our buttocks are inactive and go numb, and we try to wake them up by standing up and walking, other joints or muscles take over, and those tend to get overworked. A prime example would be the knees: they'll 'carry' the weight of the body and undergo stress from the imbalance.

Risk factors for dead butt syndrome include:

  • Sitting for extended amounts of time
  • A lack, or absence, of physical activity

Is there a cure for dead butt syndrome?

If you suffer from dead butt syndrome, the first thing you should do is get up and walk. Getting out of the position you've been frozen in will wake your lower body up from its "slumber."

Stretching your glutes, hips, legs will also help you reverse the numbness in your glutes.

Prevention remains the best way to avoid having your butt go numb. If you have to sit down for work or have to take a long road trip, train ride, or flight, try to get up regularly and stretch that part of your body. If you're not already used to doing this when working in front of your computer, you can set a reminder on your phone for every hour or so. Soon enough, it'll become a habit!

Also, as soon as you feel numb or notice any cramping (and this goes for every muscle in the body!), move ASAP to get your blood circulation going again, or to relax the muscle that's gone numb.

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