Ask my employee and she will tell you my brain is like a sieve. She thinks I’m the most forgetful person. The thing is that I actually have a fantastic memory it’s just that my brain is trying to balance about fifty different things at one time and once it has moved on it generally doesn’t circle back around again for a long time.
So yeah. I’m sorta forgetful.
It turns out though that my brain isn’t the only part of me that takes a vacation from time to time.
I went to my first physical therapy session and it was eye opening. Turns out there are plenty of reasons I hurt, none of which include piriformis syndrome which was what I thought I had. Go figure – Dr. Google wasn’t correct.
My pain lies within all three groups of the gluteus muscle complex with the medius the worst culprit. As I explained my symptoms to my therapist, he smirked (we have a great working relationship as I send all my patients needing therapy to him and enjoy having lunch with him several times a year) as he told me
“You just explained gluteal amnesia to a T”
Gluteal amnesia is also called “dead butt syndrome” and is a condition that stems from being too sedentary. I sit all the time. I sit to talk to my patients. I sit to treat them. I sit to type up the medical record. Heck I even sit to do my surgery. The reason I choose to sit is to protect my cervical spine as early and debilitating arthritis of the neck is extremely common in my field from being bent over people’s feet all the time. Sitting allows me to raise their feet to my eye level and protect my neck.
The trade off apparently is that now my butt has Alzheimer’s. Great.
There were other issues he found as well mostly that my left hip is an entire muscle grade weaker than my right (muscles are graded on a scale of 0-5 so losing one grade is roughly 20%) ) and the hip flexors on the left are extremely tight.
This has led to my symptoms: fine walking, standing and riding but flare when I ask for muscle power jogging, cramping in the butt, eventual feeling like my entire hip is about to give out on me, improper gait mechanics in my foot strike, medial knee pain. He said that I feel like my leg will collapse under me because it actually will due to my glutes “forgetting ” how to fire to provide stability and power.
The good news is that with some work and a better balance of standing versus sitting, it should be reversible. Unfortunately it’s been going on for a really long time, but he was optimistic.
He treated me with cupping followed by dry needling to try to break down the contracture that my glutes are currently stuck in and gave me a topical magnesium foam to apply before and after working out. Phase 1 is to get the complex to relax through physical modalities as above plus a ton of stretching every day.
Phase 2 will be strengthening the surrounding muscles to allow them to function better.
Phase 3 will be standing more for prevention and I’ve already figured out some ways I can do that.
He gave me the green light to keep riding as long as I’m stretching and even said I could do light jogging too as long as I stop if it starts to act up. This apparently isn’t something you can just run through which was a lesson I learned last year.
It will be super interesting to see how my riding changes once my left butt decides to join the party.