Do you have hip, knee, back, sciatica pain, or feel like the hips are restricted? More and more Americans spend most of their waking hours sitting or inactive, which is turning the glutes off, aka "Dead Butt Syndrome." Its sounds silly I know, but it is a thing and is caused from sitting too long. I’m actually sitting right now as I am writing this. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter is you exercise daily if you are sitting much of your day.
When we are sitting most of the day the muscles along the front of the hips are caused to be tight short, while the back of the body is stretch long tight, and the pressure from sitting on the glutes is causing the muscle to be inactive or turned off. This is called reciprocal inhibition when this happens. This will cause instability in the pelvis and often hip, knee, and back pain
Your Gluteus muscles are composed of three sections: Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Maximus, and Gluteus Minimus The glute muscle is the largest and strongest in the body. The Gluteus Medius and Minimus are smaller than the Maximus, but work to stabilize the pelvis. The instability of the pelvis is very common amongst women.
So what can you do about it? The problem usually stems from weak glutes which is requiring another muscle or tendon to pick up the weak glutes slack, make sense? First identity what is sore. Get to digging around, press on the areas Im speaking of and find the tender point. I recommend using a tennis ball, foam roller, soccer ball, or something that works for you to help isolate and release an area that is overactive.
Let’s talk Psoas muscle first. The Psoas muscle connects the upper body and the lower body and is located deep within the front of the body. You may lie on your back with legs extended. Turn the foot of one leg facing outwards and lift. Feel the lower abdomen to feel the psoas. Now that you know where it is you can roll over on your belly with your tennis ball and roll or hold pressure until you feel the muscle release.
The next area we are going to talk about is the Tensor Fasciae Latae. This is a muscle on the outside of the hips that is enclosed between two layers of fascia and overlays the gluteus minimum and some part of the medius. Once you isolate its location you may use your tennis ball, soccer ball, or foam roller. Roll until you feel muscle release.
The Piriformis muscle is often the culprit affecting the sciatic nerve. The muscle can get tight, pinching the nerve and causing pain. Yoga pigeon pose or reclined pigeon with a twist is very helpful in releasing tension. Remember again, it is more than likely caused by the gluteus not working.
The hamstrings can also pick up the slack of non-firing glutes. The hamstrings run along the backside of both legs. Foam roll or use a soccer ball for relief. The quadriceps (front of thigh) may be tight and foam rolling will help.
Once we release what is overactive, it is time to activate the Gluteus Muscles. Now that you are aware, begin to pay attention if one of the above areas begins to activate again as you work your glutes. These deactivation exercises will need to be repeated as part of a retraining to the nervous system and the pattern recognition that the body has created. In my opinion I believe this is the beginning of what causes many hip and knee replacement surgeries that could possibly be avoided if caught earlier on.
Don’t give up, stick with it as the end results are worth it. As far as for sitting, set a timer on your phone and get up and move around or do some sort of exercise every 30 minutes. There are many short videos on YouTube that will help as I have added a few. I have been developing physical protocols for my clients with specific exercises and order to follow. Please let me know if you would like to schedule a session.
https://youtu.be/R9nHxDigGOI Psoas Release
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZy89qsM2Rc TFL Release
https://youtu.be/bFV0LAKzIDA Piriformis Release
https://youtu.be/EpSZSN9E7nY Hamstring Release