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"Lesser physical activity progressively leads to a number of muscle and bone health issues. Getting active can ensure prevention up to some extent," said Dr Rajesh Kumar Verma, director orthopedics and spine surgery, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram

Can prolonged sitting make some of the body muscles inactive to such an extent that they tend to forget their real function? Doctors say, it can. One such condition is called gluteal amnesia popularly known as the “Dead Butt Syndrome”.

“If one develops the pattern of sitting for long hours with inactive hip and knee muscles then over a period of time the brain diminishes the neural drive to the gluteal muscles. Today, when physical activities are massively affected and majority of the working schedules are restricted within the confined areas of home, people with lesser physical activity are prone to develop this condition, taking bactrim and drinking alcohol ” said Dr Rajesh Kumar Verma, director orthopedics and spine surgery, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Gurugram.

How does it happen?

When we sit for too long, the gluteal muscles placed at the back of our buttocks may start getting enlarged or stretch out of place, said Dr Monu Singh, senior consultant, chief of services, joint replacement, arthroscopy, and sports medicine, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital.

“Progressively, they start getting ineffective and inefficient. Normally when we stand up our gluteal muscles ‘involuntarily’ give support to pelvis, to keep our spine straight. The action of these gluteal muscles is spontaneous without us being conscious about it. Once these muscles are stretched out and lose the ability to automatically tighten and support the pelvis during standing and walking, it can lead to Gluteal Amnesia. People with obesity and inactive lifestyle are more at the risk of developing it.

Why does the condition occur?

“The condition may even occur due to deficiency of vitamin D, vitamin B12 and over-consumption of alcohol,” said Dr Verma.

Symptoms

It starts presenting in lower back pain, thigh pain and progressively starts affecting lower body movements. Hence symptoms like pelvic pain while walking or sitting, difficulty in standing for a prolonged period, and consistent lower back pain should not be ignored and immediately examined.

“Considering the time we are living in, symptoms like consistent pain in back, balancing problem while standing should be reported to the doctor without fail. Daily exercises and a healthy diet can ensure prevention,” said Dr Singh.

Prevention

Lesser physical activity progressively leads to a number of muscle and bone health issues. Getting active can ensure prevention up to some extent:

One hour alarm
Don’t sit for too long. Set an alarm for every hour and get up with it to move your body, take a walk inside your room, or/and do some stretching for two to three minutes.

Squats
Depending upon individual strength and flexibility and after the concerned doctor’s advice, one can do squats to keep the lower portion of the body active.

Stretching and strengthening
A number of exercise patterns consist of two parts – stretching the hip flexors, and strengthening the gluteal, abdominal and core muscles

Pelvic lifts
While lying on your back, bend both knees to 90 degrees and then lift pelvis up and hold for 30 seconds. Then, if possible lift one leg and pelvis together while keeping the other knee bent at 90 degrees. This exercise is a real test for gluteal strength.

Better nutrition
Keep the nutrition value high. Ensure better consumption of vitamin D, B12, calcium, protein etc. Take a balanced diet and avoid binge eating.

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