Does your butt go numb while driving in your cab? Do you have chronic neck and low back pain? Is your backside a little droopy? If so, you just might have gluteal amnesia, or dead butt syndrome. Thankfully, you don’t have to quit driving to end the pain and discomfort. Just follow these tips to get new life back there.
What is Dead Butt Syndrome?
Dead butt syndrome is when you sit for long periods of time and some important elements of your core become compromised. Once you do finally stand up, your core muscle groups like your trunk and hips don’t move as smoothly and your body compensates by placing stress on other areas of the body.
What are the Symptoms of Dead Butt Syndrome?
The main symptoms of dead butt syndrome include:
· tension or pain in the neck and lower back
· constantly shifting in your set to try to find a comfortable position
· your hips feel tight
· your back feels stiff
· your joints will snap, crackle and pop when you move
· you may develop a swayback posture
How to Beat Dead Butt Syndrome
The best thing you can do for dead butt syndrome is to take regular breaks and move around. While it’s best to move around a bit every hour, that may not be possible while you’re on the road. Try to take breaks as often as possible while maintaining your schedule.
Exercises Truckers Can Do to Combat Dead Butt Syndrome
There are some moves you can do to help heal or prevent dead butt syndrome. If you don’t have one, start by purchasing a high-density round foam roller (they retail less than $20 on Amazon or at a sporting goods store.) These are great for balance, strengthening, stretching and flexibility. They are lightweight and don’t take up much room.
Do these 6 easy-to-do-while-on-the-road exercises every day to help eliminate dead butt syndrome.
1. Deep hip glide
Sit upright on your foam roller. Place your left hand behind the roller and let your left leg fall down to the ground. Keep your right leg bent with your right foot flat on the floor. Slowly move your body over the roller.
The shear move is especially useful when you find a tender spot. Straighten out your left leg and move your body left to right, creating a “shearing” motion. The foam roller stays still and you are moving your body over the roller. Roll onto the sore spot and let it compress. Breathe deeply to the count of three and give your tissue a few moments to adapt. Repeat on the other side.
3. Bent knee press
Lay on your back with the roller under your pelvis area. Keep your left foot planted firmly on the ground and push your knee over your toes, bringing your knee forward to your chest and tucking your pelvis downward. This is a good lengthening exercise. Now inhale and grasp your right knee and gently pull toward your chest as you exhale. Repeat on the other side.
4. Mini bridge
This is a good exercise for building core muscle strength in your lower back and hamstring areas. Place your feet hip-width apart, knees bent, and place your hips on the roller. Keep your arms flat on the floor beside you. Lift your hips off the roller, taking care not to arch your back. Hold this pose for 5 to 10 seconds then slowly return your hips back down to the roller. Repeat this slow, controlled move four times for a set. Repeat the set four times for a total of 16 lifts.
5. Hover and lunge
This is a great exercise for building strength in your lower glutes, which reduces the stress on your quadriceps and upper glutes.
Stand directly over your roller, right foot in front and left foot behind you. Lower your left leg just below the knee onto the roller, keeping your hips level. Slowly hover your left shin over the roller until it’s about 2-3 inches above the roller. Repeat the lift and pause four times. Next, repeat the movement four more times without the pause. Repeat on the other side.
Lay on your left side with your head on the roller for support. Bend both knees together and then lift your right leg, keeping the knee bent. Keep the weight on your upper thigh, not your hip. Keep your heels together as you lift the leg to give it a good stretch. Hold your pose for 30 seconds then return back to the original position (both knees bent.) Repeat 4 times then switch sides.
It’s no secret that sitting for long stretches isn’t great for your body. Research has found it contributes to heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even cancer. Taking a few minutes each day to get adequate exercise (aerobic, strength-building and stretching) can go a long way to mitigating the effects of long stretches in the cab of your rig.
When it comes to becoming a healthier truck driver and owner-operator, turn to AAOO for information and support. Click here to check out exercises you can do while on the road which we call our Workout of the Week (WoW).