Back
Prolonged Sitting Leads to Gluteal Amnesia
May 06, 2022
430 views

If you spend most hours of your day sitting, you may have already experienced a vague pain and discomfort where you sit. Medical practitioners may call it gluteal amnesia or lower cross syndrome and "dead butt syndrome." The syndrome appears when muscle tightness and weakness come together to generate an imbalance. Constantly sitting weakens the gluteus medius, among the three muscles found in the rear. Gluteus medius stabilizes your pelvis and hips; hence when it becomes weak and fails to function correctly, you may end up experiencing fluctuating levels of pain in your lower back and hips while sitting or moving sometimes. Are you a 25-40-year-old female office worker? This article might be just what you need to rid yourself of this syndrome that has already affected or is more likely to affect your health and day-to-day activities.

The reasons for gluteal amnesia

Do you always feel like you lose power in your lower body after spending all day sitting? You might think that dead butt syndrome or gluteal amnesia is a joke or can't affect you, but I assure you it is legitimate and more common than we think. Gluteal amnesia can happen to any person, but other people are at a higher risk of being affected depending on how they spend the rest of their day. People with desk and office jobs who don't take recurrent breaks, spend long hours and distances commuting, and commercial drivers are more predisposed to gluteal amnesia than others.

Poor posture

Poor posture

Displaying poor posture like slumping your shoulders can cause gluteal amnesia. You have probably seen that colleague in her early 30s at your office workplace who always depicts poor posture while working. She is often sitting in that posture for long hours, busy working on her deadline. Poor posture can bring about gluteal amnesia because e if you are slumped and are constantly in flexion, it places the glutes in a constant stretch, preventing them from firing correctly.

Nerve issues

An underlying issue on the nerve or the lumbar spine can also cause this syndrome. Several nerves power the glutes, and having problems at the nerve roots in the lower back can lead to pain and weaken the glute muscles, leading to gluteal amnesia. Often, office work causes issues that can lead to back problems and nerve issues. Also, because of the glutes' interconnectedness with other body muscles, an imbalance in another muscle in the body can cause this syndrome.

Sedentary lifestyle

Sedentary lifestyle

While several factors can be the reason for gluteal amnesia, the chief cause is a sedentary lifestyle. Research shows that when you sit for long periods without stretching or walking, you may cause your glutes to be numb or sore. Mainly, it is because human beings shouldn't sit for long periods in a fixed position. After all, it places pressure that strains your back muscles and causes serious health issues. Sitting for extended periods can cause an office worker's gluteal muscle to stretch and tighten their hip flexors.

Hip flexors are the muscles that run from the lower back, all through the pelvis and transversely to the front thigh. The muscles are responsible for the legs while running, walking, or climbing stairs. With this in mind, 25-40-year-old female office workers are more likely but not limited to be affected by a sedentary lifestyle. Most women this age work in offices and spend most of their time working in offices and less time walking around and exercising. If you don't stretch your hip flexors by taking a break and walking, you will have a dead butt syndrome episode. Allowing your gluteal muscles to lengthen or hip flexors to tighten can cause gluteal medius tendons to inflame.

Athletics

Surprisingly, gluteal amnesia also affects athletes like avid runners that forgo strength training and cross-training. Athletes are at a high risk of the syndrome if they spend a lot of their nonrunning time sitting at a desk. The strain from strenuous exercises and distance running can be much for tendons and muscles in identical positions for extended periods.

How do you prevent gluteal amnesia?

Do more exercises.

1. Do more exercises.

The easiest way to prevent gluteal amnesia is to break up the long sitting periods and replace them with walking. You can walk around a staircase to achieve this or go out on a walk during your break time. If you are busy and likely to forget, you can set a timer on your work computer or phone to remind you every thirty minutes or an hour. The movement can stimulate blood flow to the tightened areas, reviving your body. Walking not only rejuvenates the tendons and muscles affected by gluteal amnesia but is also an excellent cardiovascular workout. Remember that exercise is vital for everyone, especially young adults, as it will determine your present and future health.

You can also do other exercises like the seahorse pose, a yoga pose completed while sitting on an armless chair, and stretching your hip flexors to tighten them. You should hold the stretch for about twenty seconds on both sides of the hip three times every day before going to work or while in a gym office.

Invest in a standing desk

2. Invest in a standing desk

You have probably heard about a standing desk. Recent years have forced office workers to invent new ways of staying healthy during work. With the pandemic that affected the world, several people had no choice but to work from home, which meant spending most of their time working and less exercising. Things are changing, people are going back to their offices, but it is crucial to stick to a standing desk even at your workplace. If your workplace does not give you enough breaks that can allow you to do enough exercise or walk, then a standing desk is the best option.

Most of them are adjustable, making it easier to sit and stand whenever you want. Investing in a standing desk can help you reduce inactivity, cause dead butt syndrome, and help you reduce back pain while working in the office. Standing desks help you with your posture. Consider investing in one for productive and healthy days. They come in two designs: tabletop size, which can sit on top of your traditional desk, and a full-size desk. You should note that even if you invest in a suitable standing desk, you need to change your posture and what you sit on periodically. It will help keep the muscles in your lower back and buttocks engaged.

treat gluteal amnesia

How can you treat gluteal amnesia?

If you already have gluteal amnesia, there are several ways you can handle it. The treatment for gluteal amnesia depends on its progression. If you are an athlete that wants to get back on track, you should work with a sports medicine specialist that can help you safely return to your routine. You should take a break from your exercise for the rest of the people affected by dead butt syndrome, especially office workers. You can do the following:

Rest- which involves staying off your feet as much as you can.
Ice- you can reduce pain and swelling using a cold compress and an ice pack.
Compression- you can wrap a sore back or knee, but you should consult your doctor first for instructions on how to do it.
Elevation- you should keep your legs well supported and up.

If the case is severe, you should consider physical and massage therapy. Physical therapy includes strengthening and flexibility therapy, which you can do at home if you don't want a specialist. If your muscles and tendons are seriously injured, you might need platelet-rich plasma therapy, which involves an injection concentrated toward your platelets. The injections speed up your healing process, and since you get injected in your injured areas.

Apart from therapy, you can consider buying over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen, which will be very helpful in improving the symptoms of gluteal amnesia. You can bring your gluteal amnesia back to life and have productive female working days in the office with proper exercise and treatments.

Further reading

Lieberman, D. E. (2006). The human gluteus maximus and its role in running. Journal of Experimental Biology, 209(11), 2143–2155

Spinelli, S. (2019). Gluteal Amnesia. https://e3rehab.com/blog/glutealamnesia/

Foley R, Bulbrook B., Button D., Holmes M. (2017). Effects of a band loop on lower extremity muscle activity and kinematics during the barbell squat. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 12(4):550-559.

Sun, Z., & Migaly, J. (2016). Review of hemorrhoid disease: presentation and management. Clinics in colon and rectal surgery, 29(01), 022-029.

Tresca, A. (2021). Hemorrhoids: Signs, symptoms, and complications. Verywell health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/hemorrhoids-signs-symptoms-and-complications-4160936

Lawrence, A., McLaren, E. R., & McCormick, S. P. (2021). External Hemorrhoid (Nursing). In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.