The psoas muscle has been known to play a large role in back pain. The psoas is part of the hip flexor group and it inserts on the lesser trochanter of the femur located on the medial anterior section of the femur. Its primary role is to flex the hip, however, it also side bends the spine secondary to its origin being on anterior lateral bodies of L12-L5.
What happens to the psoas during back pain? Muscle spasms and guarding occurs in patients with low back pain. With chronic or acute low back pain, the spasms and guarding can create increased tension and strain on the spine pulling the spine anteriorly. This can change the normal muscle balance affecting biomechanics during normal ADLs.
An example of this is in a seated position. The hip flexors are placed in a shortened position when we are seated. As we stand the hip flexors must stretch or become elongate. A psoas with increase tone will not elongate properly creating more strain on the spine and facilitating more irritation or pain.
Decreasing muscle tone of the psoas is important. A psoas release can be very effective, but it is also can be difficult to perform and is uncomfortable for the patient.
So how do we specifically stretch the psoas?
There are 10 (some will debate 11) muscles that flex the hip. The psoas is the only hip flexor that attaches to the lateral body of the lumbar spine. To separate out the psoas we can extend the hip and side bend away from the extended hip.
Check out the video below of a Psoas Stretch using The Invertabelt System!
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