First of all how slick is the name Psoas? It sounds pretty ethnic, probably because it has Latin roots. (even that sounds cool) This is actually a deep pelvic muscle, still sound evil? Let's figure out what is going on!
and to the lesser trochanter of the femur (aka thigh bone). It is a powerful flexor of the thigh (what? yes, flexing the thigh would be bringing your leg up when walking or running). It also functions to rotate the thigh and is a key postural muscle. This villain sabotages the body with low back pain, hip pain, groin pain, even chronic constipation! (whoa, that is downright mean)
THE PSOAS ATTACKS YOUR BACK!
Since the psoas is attached to the lumbar vertebrae it is a contributing factor in the low back pain conundrum. When this muscle becomes tightened it draws the low back forward with the following side effects:
This is some serious trouble!
The pain associated with the psoas is characterized as achy and difficult to pin point but spreads to the hips, legs, and even up the back. Generally pain will be felt when rising from a seated position or extending the leg, as in driving, but is relieved with sitting, walking, or standing.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Because this muscle lays deep in the pelvis it is tricky to access for massage. There are some techniques that will address the muscle, but isolating trigger points is difficult. (sounds like the ultimate villain!) Your best bet is to work on preventing overuse. You see the psoas may sound villainous but it could be misinterpreted as a scream for help in a body that is out of whack. When the psoas is tightened it pulls the lumbar vertebrae down and forward, naturally our upper body tries to adjust for this offset of balance (your basic physics at play here) and we move on without a thought or care until one day the strain causes us to stop and take note. By this time our central nervous system has locked in an incorrect movement pattern and it takes hard work to break that habit. It can be done, you just need some perseverance and determination! (like most super heroes) Here are a couple of things to begin with:
Don't just stretch your quads, stretch your hip flexors too! The psoas doesn't get the fame that the quads have even though they are more powerful. It's a tough life. Don't neglect your psoas (c'mon it can possibly lead to constipation issues, do you really want to tick off a muscle that causes that?) Now, I did not add this to the list because it should be a part of your health regimen already. Get a massage, regularly. Most people think that a massage is all girly, spa, flowers, trickling water, and oils. It isn't. It is serious therapy. I like to think of myself as the iron for all your knotted up muscles. Just like you iron a shirt, a massage will straighten out your muscles and you can't go halfway with your body by simply strengthening, you need to lengthen the tight muscles too.
Go give your psoas some attention before it wreaks havoc on your pipes!
Kerry M. Davis LMT, CIMT, SFG