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Is dead butt syndrome causing your back or sciatic pain?
The Doctors welcome physical therapist Dr. Karen Joubert to discuss the condition, which is also called gluteal amnesia. She says the name might sound funny, but the issue is real. She explains if someone sits for too long over an extended period of time -- like during the COVID-19 pandemic -- the muscles in the buttocks can "forget what to do" and shut down.
Dr. Joubert says symptoms of dead butt syndrome can include:
- Wiggling while sitting and the inability to get comfortable
- Aches in back
- Shooting pain in the sciatic nerve
- Random pain in the foot, knee, or ankle
The physical therapist notes with dead butt syndrome the pain will usually go away when you get up and move, but an issue with your sciatic nerve will likely persist even after moving.
Dr. Joubert says you can test yourself at home to find out if you might be suffering from dead butt syndrome (See how to perform the at-home tests HERE). To treat and avoid dead butt syndrome, the physical therapist suggests:
- If you are in pain, do not stretch, she explains this can make the issue worse
- Make sure to get up from your chair or couch often and keep your body moving and consider setting a timer on your watch, phone, or home assistant to remind you to get up
- Switch up how you work from home with a better chair, an exercise ball, or use a standing desk (Get our list of favorite standing desks)
Also, Dr. Joubert adds, "Watch your posture" when working and sitting for extended periods of time.