Do you suffer from DBS?
I first ran across the term Dormant Butt Syndrome (aka Dead Butt Syndrome or DBS) about three years ago.
DBS isn’t really a disease. Rather, it’s an explanation for why millions of Americans suffer from low back, hip and knee pain.
The term was coined by a physical therapist who believes Americans sit too much (I’m guilty of this!), and it’s weakening our gluteus or butt muscles.
The entire body works as a linked system, and a lot of times when people come in with knee or hip injuries, it’s actually because their butt is not strong enough. The rear end should act as support for the entire body and as a shock absorber for stress during exercise, but if it’s too weak, other parts of the body take up the slack and it often causes injury.
Our body parts work together; if one part is weak, another part has to work harder and is more likely to be strained, sprained or just painful.
A more recent article calls DBS “gluteal amnesia.”
Americans are sitting so long that their butts are literally falling asleep. “Dead butt syndrome,” or gluteal amnesia, is a condition that occurs when your gluteus medius gets inflamed and forgets to function normally.
Think about it. Sitting puts a lot of pressure on the butt, especially if the chair has a hard seat or you’re overweight. This pressure cuts off circulation and compresses the nerves. The result is a dead butt.
Prevent or treat DBS with exercise
Our glute muscles are large and powerful because they are responsible for movement and stability. We ignore them at our own risk!
The best way to prevent Dormant Butt Syndrome is to simply get up frequently during the day to walk and stretch.
Be mindful of how much time you’ve been sitting, whether it’s at work or lounging around your home. For every hour you sit, get up and move for 10 minutes.
I can easily lose track of time when I’m writing at the computer. If you’re like this, too, set a timer. Or just pay attention and when you feel your butt start to fall asleep, move!
To get the glute muscles back into shape and keep them fit, it’s important to add some targeted exercises—step ups, lunges, squats or bridges, for example—into your weekly routine.
At the very least, walk. If you can add a hill or two, or some stairs, even better.
Sitting too much is our worst enemy
I’ve posted before about how unhealthy prolonged periods of sitting can be. Recent research has shown that even sitting for as little as an hour at a time can be bad for our metabolism, muscles and joints.
Here are two great videos from Dr. Mike Evans and Dr. Aaron Carroll that explain in more detail why sitting is bad and moving is good.
So do your glutes (and hips and knees and heart and everything else) a favor and make sure you are getting up from your chair or couch for at least 10 minutes every hour.
DBS might not be a real disease yet, but given our trend to put a label or diagnostic code on everything, perhaps there will soon be a National Dormant Butt Syndrome Foundation to increase awareness and raise money for this terrible affliction.
Luckily, the cure is simple and inexpensive. We just need to get off our butts and move.
This post has been updated since its original publication in 2016.