Content originally published on www.balancepointokanagan.com
The psoas (so-as) muscle is a large muscle that attaches on the anterior portion of your entire lumbar spine, as well as the bottom thoracic vertebrae. It travels down your spine and hip, to the inside of your femur bone. It is part of a group of muscles, commonly known as your hip flexors. Although this muscle’s primary action is to flex the hip, it commonly causes pain in the low back.
The psoas crosses many joints including the joints in your spine, SI joints, and your hip socket. When it gets tight, it can cause your pelvis to rotate forward, which increases the natural curve in your low back, compressing the joints in your lumbar spine, causing pain in your low back. Down the road, this postural dysfunction can lead to other health issues such as facet joint irritation, disc herniation, spondylolisthesis, and other complications.
There are many different reasons as to why this muscle can become tight and shortened. Sitting or standing for long periods of time, desk jobs, cycling, and bad posture are a few. Another one that people can overlook is our body’s stress response, the sympathetic nervous system. You’ve probably heard people mention that hips can store our emotions. The psoas muscle can hold a lot of our stress, causing it to stay in a contracted position.
Massage Therapy can help release this muscle both directly and indirectly. It’s no surprise that receiving a massage increases your body’s relaxation response, your parasympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, will help relax your psoas, releasing the stress within the muscle. Another way to approach it is by working through the abdomen to get to this muscle directly. For some, it can cause discomfort during the massage but is very effective in releasing this muscle. Therapeutic exercise is another great way to help obtain the results gained by massage. This is given to you by your therapist to do at home.
Lauren Billey RMT
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Travis Mcindoe -TCMP