‘The Psoas is the only ‘muscle’ to connect the spine to the legs. It is responsible for holding us upright, and allows us to lift our legs in order to walk. A healthily functioning psoas stabilizes the spine and provides support through the trunk, forming a shelf for the vital organs of the abdominal core.’
The Psoas muscle (pronounced ‘so ass’) plays a vital role in physical health and mental well being and is the principal muscle associated with trunk stability.
The Psoas muscle attaches to the lower spine (T12 and five lumbar vertebrae) and passes in front of the hip-joint, underneath the inguinal ligament and attaches to the top of the long thigh bone (the femur). It is the only muscle connecting the legs to the spinal column. The Iliacus and Psoas (called iliopsoas when taken together) serve a unique role in the body. They work as both hip flexors and low back stabilizers.
When a person sits for long periods of time at a desk, driving or playing video games on the floor, the legs are bent toward the chest and this causes tight hip flexors and weak glutes.
As the person stands up after having been sitting, the Psoas muscle has to lengthen. A strain can happen when the tight psoas muscles suddenly get extended doing high intensity exercise. Movements like running or kicking can especially stress the iliopsoas, which is why athletes, especially runners or rugby fly halves, are prone to iliopsoas injuries or pain
Short and tight, or overstretched and strained iliopsoas can create physical and mental stress and tension which can contribute various conditions including low back pain, sciatica, sacroiliac pain, disc problems, scoliosis, hip degeneration, knee pain, anxiety, menstruation pain, infertility, and digestive problems. The shortened psoas pulls the lower spine forward resulting in the lower back muscles tightening to counter this pull. If the Psoas is tight on one side more than the other it creates torsion and these forces compress the facet joints and intervertebral discs of the lumbar spine. The facets become irritated, causing a nagging, aching low back. Over time this situation may lead to more serious structural problems.
If your hips and back feel tight or your range of motion is limited and keeping you from an active lifestyle, contact an osteopath today
An osteopath will conduct a thorough injury evaluation to pinpoint the root cause of the pain. Once identified, they will recommend a treatment plan designed to get you back to your pain-free life as quickly as possible. Through specific osteopathic techniques such as myofascial release (Considerable skill and care are required to release the tight psoas and the associated fascial covering) your osteopath will correct the underlying issue to help eliminate pain.
In addition to osteopathic treatment, patients may be given exercises and postural advice to speed recovery and prevent future injuries. Isolated stretches are especially important in keeping the hip flexors loose and pain-free.
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