A Weak Psoas Muscle Could Be The Basis For Back Pain


El Paso, TX. Chiropractor Dr. Alex Jimenez takes a look at the psoas muscle and its relation to back pain.

All too often we find ourselves experiencing aches and pains in our bodies, especially in the low back. If you find yourself commonly searching for remedies for fast back pain relief, it might be time to research the psoas muscle.

Technically named iliopsoas, the psoas major, may very well be among the main muscles within the body. Why? This deep-seated heart muscle helps support your back and much more. In the event the psoas is weak, it might be the cause of neck pain, back pain and many other issues. In fact, the psoas major muscle is especially distinctive, particularly as it pertains to postural function. It’s the only muscle which joins reduced body and the lumbar spine. It’s clear to see taking care of this deep psoas muscle is essential to a powerful, pain free body. Many others believe a healthy psoas is very important for spiritual and mental health, also.

What’s the Psoas Muscle? Why Is It Important?

There are two psoas muscles on each side of the back. The larger one is called the psoas major and the smaller the psoas minor. The psoas major, often known as “the might psoas, ” originates in the back round the bottom of the rib cage and runs down the thigh over the femur. The psoas major works by bending the hip. It runs to the bony pelvis, although the psoas minor also originates in the back across the bottom of the rib cage. It acts to bend the back that is reduced.

The psoas helps us perform including freeing the legs for walking and running all sorts of day-to-day activities. The psoas muscle is also critical in providing good posture. Anyone who takes Pilates knows the psoas intimately — the type of exercise is praised for enhancing psoas muscle health and associated back pain. Olympic weightlifters, runners, triathletes, gymnasts — heavily rely on the support of the psoas, too.



Let’s delve into where the muscle is situated. There are two muscles that create what is called the group that is iliopsoas. They may be the psoas major and iliacus. You have likely learned your fitness teacher indicate stretching the hip flexors at the end of your strength class. The psoas major and iliacus are very important to the hip flexor muscles since they help support and secure the lower back. There’s an alternative muscle known as the psoas minor, but it is useful for 4 legged animals than for people.

The word psoas means loin area and is Greek. The psoas muscle group makes an upside down V, linked to the back working its way down to the very top of the femur and beginning at about the bottom point of the rib cage. Specifically, it’s a long spindle-like muscle, found between the pelvic inlet as well as the pelvic floor. It joins the iliacus muscle which can be what forms the iliopsoas. A chiropractor can in fact use pressure in the pelvic inlet region to aid release a tight psoas. This can be commonly done to stretches for athletes in addition, though it should always be achieved by way of a soft tissue professional with expertise in psoas release.

Why Do We Need A Strong Psoas Muscle: Possible Issues

A strong psoas supports regular action, however so much as the simplest task can be made as well as causing larger problems such as power back a challenge by a weak psoas. The psoas is a vital messenger of the central nervous system and the way your body reacts to gravity is significantly diffent than intended, when there is dearth of support from it.

Muscle imbalances can often make the entire body to compensate in a different place and that may cause even and added problems harm. Some people are even identified as having psoas syndrome or iliopsoas tendonitis. These ailments cause pain in the hip area. They’re often described similarly, while these are two different illnesses; nonetheless, psoas syndrome is a condition involving a stretch, tear or rupture of tendon or the iliopsoas muscle. Iliopsoas tendonitis demands an inflamed muscle. The piriformis syndrome is also closely related with this kind of pain and may be referenced when seeking a diagnosis.

Yoga therapist Danielle Prohom Olson calls the psoas muscle “the muscle of the soul.” Olson says on her site: “ The psoas is connected to the diaphragm through fascia or connective tissue which impacts our breath and anxiety reflex. This is because the psoas is linked to the most early inside part of the brain stem, the reptilian brain and spinal cord.” In fact, author of The Psoas Book, psoas specialist Liz Koch, says that lack or mental trauma of psychological support can leak to a chronically contracted psoas. This results in too little core awareness. This makes sense as your historical limbic system is closely related to emotions like fear and worry.

Symptoms Of Psoas Difficulties

  • Discomfort, pain and aches in the front hip socket
  • Restriction in the hip socket
  • Iliopsoas bursitis/tendinitis
  • Restriction moving the thigh backwards
  • Deep pelvic pain
  • Deep “bellyache”
  • Chronic constipation
  • Twisted pelvis

What Causes A Weak Psoas

There are just two common behaviours that generally cause a weak psoas: sitting poor posture and all day. The National Association of Sports Medicine notes sitting causes a psoas that is feeble. And a weak psoas can lead to lower back issues. All that sitting can cause the psoas, iliopsoas and rectus femoris to remain in a shortened position for lengthy amounts of time. What goes on is these muscles get used to this shortened state and that makes them overactive and tight. This shortening or tightening of the muscles can lead to a forward tilt of the pelvis and weakness in the gluteal muscles because these muscles are attached to the pelvis and lumbar spine. United, this may cause lower back pain. Consider a standing desk to lower your sitting time each day.

If not corrected awful posture, whether standing or sitting, can create a lot of suffering. Rounded shoulders or a forward head position might appear to be the easiest on the body, but it is going to weaken the supporting muscles of the body over time, since we’re always working against gravity.

3 Major Benefits of a Strong, Healthy Psoas Muscle

1. May Reduce Low Back Pain

A published in the Journal of American Osteopathic Association identified the psoas as a vital muscle linked to our core muscle development. The psoas had been initially missed as an alternative for back pain that the 48-year-old man was experiencing. (7) He received osteopathic manipulative treatment, defined as hands on care with a trained physician. Utilizing the hands, with extending techniques, gentle pressure and resistance by transferring the muscles and joints, a skilled professional can help diagnose, treat and even prevent illness or injury. The patient enjoyed critical development, confirming that without surgery, back pain can be removed with a the help of a professional, combined with the devotion of the patient to execute special stretches at home.

2. Can Affect Your Sports Activities

I noted previously that the psoas is actually the muscle which allows one to run. Each knee lift causes a contraction of the rope-like each time the leg swings back to its first location and muscle, the psoas will lengthen. Runner’s World reports a runner lengthen and will contract the psoas more than 5,000 times during an hour long run The psoas can be a big aspect in great carriage. The psoas, combined with other core muscles, like the abdominals and obliques, in addition to the ones that help form and support the lower back, supplies firmness offering a strong posture. Therefore it’s wise that if there is a problem with the psoas, it’ll probably change your sports actions, in particular those that need jogging.

3. Provides a More Pain-Free Pregnancy

Creates a lot of developments in the torso, certainly one of which is the shift in your center of gravity. It shifts forwards as the baby grows, causing the pelvis to go toward the front of the body. This could cause the muscles in the low back area the hamstrings and glutes and also to tighten weaken as well as to stretch out. Additionally, the ligaments connected to the uterus can come under a great deal of anxiety, causing pain and lower back. The psoas and surrounding muscles take on much of the anxiety, which may cause discomfort on account of imbalances and tightness. But, by performing stretches and exercises which help to fortify the psoas, you can remove most if not all of the pain.

Psoas Stretches & Exercises

Whether an athlete, not lively in any respect or pregnant, it’s important to release the psoas to make sure that it’s in excellent working order giving you the support you must perform any tasks — picking up those markets or your toddler. Yoga, Pilates and my core routine are excellent choices, by performing a some key stretches right at home however you can make a major difference. Here are some psoas stretches and exercises which you can do a few days a week. If possible, in the event that you sit at a desk throughout the day, I recommend which you perform these exercises daily. It just requires a couple of minutes and can alter how you go throughout your day.

Foam Rolling

While releasing the psoas must be left to your soft-tissue professional, NASM suggests foam rolling tight hip muscles that are other, such as the TFL and hip adductors. As you roll, hold on spots that are tender for 30 to 90 seconds. (16) Check by means of your physician to be sure foam rolling is OK with you. NASM notes it’s not appropriate for certain states, including aneurysms, blood clots, malignancies, anticoagulant treatment, congestive heart failure, open wounds or skin lesions, bursitis, obstructive edema, or certain other health conditions.

Hip Flexor Stretch (Thomas Stretch)

Sit tall at the end of a table. Thighs are midway off the table. Catching one knee, lean back until your lower back and sacrum and pull it to your torso are level on the table. Notice that when the back is rounding and the pelvis is tipping, you’re pulling on the knee too much. To correct, just loosen your hold. Allow the other leg to hang free. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds. Perform a few repeats on each side.

Kneeling Lunge

It is a very common exercise performed in the fitness center through the stretch segment of plenty of group fitness classes. To get it done, kneel down on one knee (you might want to have a pad below if you’re on a hard surfaced floor), with all the front leg forward at a 90-degree angle. Tuck your pelvis and softly lunge forwards. Continue to lean into the stretch ensuring that there is no uncommon pain. A tight psoas may cause you to arch your back; yet, try to keep the back straight. To include a little extending to the core, raise your arms and lean the hips forward another inch or two. Holding the lunge for 30 seconds finishing, 3 repeats on each side.

Leg Lifts

Lie on your back and extend your legs facing you. Put your hands either underneath your bottom in case your back arches too much, or above your mind by focusing on bringing your belly button to the spinal column provided that your lower back is pressed into the ground. Lift your left leg several inches above the earth and support for 3 to 5 seconds. Do 10 to 15 repetitions on each leg. As you get stronger, you can do these using ankle weights.

Ball Bridge

Lie on a stability ball like you would to perform crunching, along with your neck and shoulder resting. Make sure to engage your heart , not let your hips sag, with your feet straight ahead with toes pointing forwards, shoulder-width apart. Slowly and controlled, drop your glutes toward the floor (don’t go too far that the shoulders come away from the ball) and then push up through the heels to engage the glutes and push your hips back up in line by means of your spine.

This exercise can be used to fortify weak gluteal muscles generally associated with a tight psoas.

Psoas Massage and Release

The psoas is surrounded by vital organs is deeply embedded into the central cavity region and may be tough to find. Physical therapist or a chiropractor might be capable of help you best as it pertains to actually release the psoas. It requires complete relaxation of the patient and is a sensitive place. To really get working with a trained professional is recommended, although total body massage that is general can certainly help.

Working on releases and extending other hip muscles nearer to the surface of the body is able to go a long way in reducing total tension and will ultimately help in enhancing psoas wellness.


It is always better to require any new exercise slow. Ahead of performing the exercises consult with your sports medicine doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor. When it comes to a psoas release, there are negative effects that are potentially dangerous in case you don’t work with someone trained and certified in this region, so you need to talk a professional.

Closing Thoughts on the Powerful Psoas Muscle

The psoas muscle is a deep-seated abdominal muscle in close proximately. Your psoas major is the muscle that joins your lower back to your lower body. The psoas muscle is many times tight and overactive, as well as other hip muscles, due and due to things like sitting that is persistent possibly as a result of chronic stress. A soft tissue professional just like a physical therapist or chiropractor should does releasing your psoas muscle. Everything you could do to boost your psoas function in the home is focus on strengthening weak gluteal muscles, extend them and perform foam rolling of other tight hip muscles such as TFL and the adductors.

While surgery is frequently prescribed for back pain, researchers are finding that focusing on enhancing psoas health can radically enhance lower back pain.


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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
Texas DC License # TX5807, New Mexico DC License # NM-DC2182

Licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN*) in Florida
Florida License RN License # RN9617241 (Control No. 3558029)
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Presently Matriculated: ICHS: MSN* FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner Program)

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN* CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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