What is Dead Butt Syndrome?

Adapted from an article by Dr. Sandy Baird of Riverstone Chiropractic in Oakland, CA

Dead Butt Syndrome calls to mind an image of someone who’s sitting on the couch watching TV for hours at a time.  The ironic thing about Dead Butt Syndrome is that it mostly affects athletic people.  Why is that?  Because many active people have jobs that require them to sit for close to eight hours a day!  

Why is sitting so bad for us?  One reason is that sitting in a typical office chair, or a car seat, puts our Psoas muscles (hip flexors) in a shortened position.  When a muscle is contracted/shortened, it relaxes a muscle on the opposite side of the joint (through a concept called Reciprocal Inhibition).  That works well when your triceps are relaxing to allow you to lift a dumbbell in a biceps curl, but when we’re talking about this type of sustained contraction, it’s NOT A GOOD THING for the muscle on the other side to be relaxed for eight hours!  

The butt muscles (Gluteals) actually “turn off” in this scenario, leaving us with a "dead butt."  The good news is that Dead Butt Syndrome can be corrected:


Take breaks from sitting to stretch out your Psoas and other hip flexors. 

Address Chronic Tension -- Get Tension Relief Massage (NMT, Deep Tissue):

If this condition has been building up for some time, chronic tension and trigger points may be present in both the Psoas and Gluteal muscles.  

Neuromuscular Therapy, Trigger Point Release, Thai Massage, and other forms of massage are very helpful. 


Exercises for the Glut. Max and Glut. Medius will help restore some strength and function to our “dead” glutes.

Taking a combination approach or stretching, reducing the chronic tension, and strengthening will give you the best chance at resolving the dreaded “Dead Butt Syndrome”.

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