Monday, February 20, 2012

What a Pain in the Psoas!

Back pain can present in a few different ways, which we had discussed in a previous post.
Today we are dealing with the iliopsoas and how dysfunction in this muscle can present as back pain
The iliopsoas is involved in hip flexion, but due to its insertion at the 12th vertebrae of the thoracic spine and first through fifth lumbar vertebrae, it is better classified as a postural stabilizer. The psoas hooks up to the lowest part of the back and then extends down to the lesser trochanter on the medial side of the femur. This means that an irritated psoas can be felt from your lower back and buttock all the way down to the middle of your inner thigh. That's a big pain and you know where you will feel it!

Psoas tendonitis can be caused by shortening the muscle due to anterior pelvic tilt (does your booty look like J.Lo?), overuse (too may hills during a run or just too much running/walking), or poor posture (are you really supposed to bend over that way?).

The simplest way to stretch the psoas muscle is to bend both legs at 90 degrees, one in front and one in back as if it were a lunge position. Next, you drive the pelvis forward, flexing the front knee and extending the rear knee. The stretch should be felt all the way down the inner thigh. You can accentuate the stretch by placing the trailing leg on a bench or ball.
Many types of movement or postures can affect psoas function, so its best to evaluate yourself and adjust your training program with a professional such as myself to properly adjust your posture, walking form, and other contraindicated movements.