Do you have a dormant butt? Chris Kolba, a physical therapist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center coined the term to explain to his patients that their glute muscles weren’t working efficiently. Having a dormant butt is not a new thing but it is increasing due to our sedentary behaviours that limit our movement and mobility in our daily routines, which may be due to our posture, how we sit and how long we sit at our desks, in the car, binge watching the latest season of Game of Thrones or constantly sitting and staring at our iPads and iPhones.

Dormant butt does not discriminate though as it can also occur in patients and athletes who exercise often or just from other everyday activities. So what does having a dormant butt actually mean?

It may present as pain through the back, hips, legs or knees, but what if the pain wasn’t being caused by those structures? As Osteopaths we always look for the cause of the pain, which may not be the same as the site of the pain. In some cases if patients are experiencing pain in the outside of the knee, it may be due to weakness in one or more of the gluteal muscles. It could also be due to an imbalance of muscle activity and until the problem is rectified, pain in the back, hip, leg or knee could keep reoccurring. The key thing is to identify the best treatment approach with your Osteopath, which may include a combination of releasing the gluteal muscles with manual therapy and identifying the gluteal muscles that need to be strengthened with exercise prescription.

Even if you exercise regularly and do your squats at the gym you may not be targeting the individual muscles that need to be trained. Regular sitting can weaken some of the gluteals while aggravating some of the others, so it important to work out which exercises and treatment is best for you. As you can see from the picture below, there are many muscles which make up the glutes, each have their individual function but they need to work in synergy, therefore they need to be diagnosed, treated and trained accordingly for optimal global function.