We all know that sitting for long periods of time is not great for the body. Several studies have associated this with heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. But did you know that sitting long hours can cause Dead Butt Syndrome (DBS)? This condition is medically termed gluteus medius tendinopathy, and often known as gluteal amnesia. The condition is caused when the gluteal muscles have forgotten their main work that includes supporting the pelvis and maintaining the body in proper alignment.
Well, moving more and sitting less may help avert or treat dead butt syndrome, however, one must be aware that this odd condition can lead to several other health issues if not taken proper care of.
Symptoms of DBS
Sitting for a long time can make the gluteal muscles in the buttocks to feel numb or even a little sore. But walking and doing mild stretching can bring them back to normal quickly. In severe cases, the symptoms of dead butt syndrome can cause pain and stiffness elsewhere in the body such as pain in one or both hips, lower back, and knees. Sometimes pain may shoot down the leg, very similar to the way sciatica feels.
Loss of power in the glutes and hip flexors can also happen if DBS is not properly treated. In some cases, if one hip is affected it may pain just by lying down on that side. It may also lead to inflammation of the hip bursa, a fluid filled sac that supports the movement within the hip joint.
Other signs of bursitis include:
Swelling around affected region
People who follow a sedentary lifestyle - one with too much sitting or lying down and not getting enough movement can make the gluteal muscles to lengthen and hip flexors to tighten and inflammation of the gluteal medius tendons.
Hip flexors muscles are responsible for moving legs when you walk, run, and climb stairs. If these muscles are not stretched just going for a brisk walk can trigger an episode of dead butt syndrome.
The gluteal medius is one of the smaller muscles in the buttocks and tendons that support it are at high risk of this type of injury.
Quite interestingly, people who run a lot are also at high risk of DBS, if they spend too much of their non -running time at a desk. As the strain of long-distance running can be too exerting for muscles and tendons that go long durations in the same positions. Athletes and ballet dancers are also at higher risk.
Seek immediate medical advice if you experience symptoms of dead butt syndrome during weight-bearing exercises, such as walking or stair climbing. The doctor will collect medical history and thoroughly examine the areas where the person is having pain and stiffness. Furthermore, the doctor may also order an X-ray or MRI to rule out the risk of other potential problems.
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The main mode of treatment for this condition depends on how far it has advanced and is based on physical activity goals. If you’re an athlete who’s trying to get back on track as soon as possible, then you must consult a sports medicine specialist to return to activity safely.
Treatments involve taking a short break from regular sports or exercise and the person would be advised to follow the RICE protocol:
Rest: Refrain from doing any activity as much as possible.
Ice: Use an ice pack or cold compress to ease pain and swelling.
Compression: Wrap a sore knee or back as advised by the specialist.
Elevation: Keep the legs elevated and well-supported.
In severe cases, physical and massage therapy may be needed, physical therapy includes flexibility and strengthening exercises that the patient can practise at home.
Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) may be suggested for more serious injuries of the tendons and muscles. Where the concentration of platelets, the type of blood cells that helps with blood clots and healing are injected at the site of injury. They help in the faster healing process.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also prescribed to alleviate symptoms of DBS.