Have Back Pain? It Could be Your Psoas Muscles
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Does your back feel painfully taut with limited mobility, or do you have aching and burning pain in your groin or front thigh? This could be due to taut Psoas Muscles. The so-what? The "So-as". The psoas muscles extend from each side of the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae to the pelvis, joining here with its buddy, the Iliacus muscle, and then traveling down to insert on the upper leg, or the femur.
After my L5-S1 disc herniated, my hips kept rotating out of alignment and one leg became shorter than the other. From the herniated disc, my muscles went into spasms and tightened in a protective state. This included the psoas. These tight muscles were pulling my leg back into the hip socket, causing leg length discrepancy and even more back pain.
Pain, emotional and/or physical tension, back or abdominal surgery, scar tissue, repetitive motions like cycling can all tense the psoas muscles, causing reduced mobility and increased pain in the low back, pelvis, thigh, or knee area. It can also cause increased lumbar curvature (lordosis), irritable bowels. and even constipation. Think of how long the psoas is. It extends over many organs: the intestines, kidneys, liver, and spleen, to name a few.
An imbalanced or tense psoas can also cause difficulty breathing, making it feel harder to get a full, complete breath. The psoas muscles are one group of muscles with which the diaphragm interlocks, as the diaphragm connects with the lower ribs. Both the psoas and the diaphragm influence core stabilization and proper breathing.
Because of its length, its position, and its importance in the body, this group of muscles can cause havoc when it is tight and shortened (or also when it is weak).
Ways To Make Your Psoas Muscles Happy Muscles
1. Take breaks from sitting. Sitting for prolonged periods of time can tighten the psoas.
2. Strengthen other core muscles, such as your glutes/butt muscles, so the psoas muscles do not have to overwork. A great exercise is the glute bridge.
3. Do not overdo crunches and do not have your feet held down when performing sit ups because it adds strain to the psoas. Too many crunches may tighten and shorten muscles and cause spinal compression. Instead, try a variety of abdominal exercises, including planks, squeezing a ball between the thighs, or other exercises where the pelvis remains neutral.
4. Massage. Manual therapy can help release and lengthen the psoas. Massaging the psoas can be a little painful, but afterwards, it feels great.
5. Place a pillow under your knees when sleeping on your back. Tight psoas muslces can pull on your back and cause it to arch, but a pillow under your knees will provide some slack to this muscle group and relax your back.
6. Relax. When you feel stressed, your muscles tense. This also includes the psoas muscles. Imagine tense psoas muscles and how much territory in your body they cover. That creates a lot of tension throughout your abdomen, the core of your body, your back, your pelvis and hips, your legs, down to your knees.
If your psoas muscles are really tight and painful, start with these gentle psoas releases before moving on to yoga poses and stretches for the psoas and hip flexors. Lie down in these positions for five or more minutes while deeply breathing in and out, imaging the deep psoas muscles relaxing, letting go of tension.
Rest your lower legs on a chair. With bent knees, have knees Rest your leg on your opposite
Relax & breathe. Image your rest into one another for knee. This should feel effort-
breath moving into & out from. support. Keep your back flat less, not like you are holding
your deep psoas muscles, on the floor. For several mins. up your leg. This position
bringing them oxygen, relaxing. breathe deeply, relaxing and provides slack in your psoas
them, & releasing tension from. imagining your psoas letting muscles, allowing time for
them & down into the floor. tension go & lengthening. your psoas to relax.