The Psoas Muscle

Pain and Symptoms Associated with the Psoas Muscle?

  • Low back pain

  • Abdominal pain

  • Groin pain

  • Leg pain

  • Pelvic pain

The psoas (pronounced “so – az”) primarily flexes the hip and the spinal column. At about 16 inches long on the average, it is one of the largest and thickest muscles of the body. It is the only muscle attaching the spine to the leg, as it spans from the stomach to upper thigh.

Psoas Walk

The psoas is the core muscle of the body, maintaining fluid motion while walking. Functioning as a hip and thigh flexor is what makes the Psoas a major walking muscle. If the legs are stationary the action of it is a bend of the spine forward; if sitting, it stabilizes and balances the trunk. The lower psoas brings the spine forward and downward to create a pelvic tilt.

When the muscle becomes contracted due to injuries, poor posture, prolonged sitting, or stress, it can alter the biomechanics of the pelvis and spine. It can torque your spine to the right or left, pull it forward and twist the pelvis into various distortions. Frequently one psoas will shorten and pull the spine and/or pelvis to your dominant side. The distortions of the spine and pelvis can also show up as a short or long leg. This all results in scoliosis, kyphosis, lordosis, trigger points, and spasms in back  muscles trying to resist the pulling of the psoas.

Psoas TP Referral

Typically a dysfunctional psoas is responsible for referred pain down the front of the thigh and vertically along the lower to mid spinal column. Trigger points (taught bands of muscle that can refer pain to various parts of the body) are found above the path of the psoas on the abdomen. The Psoas muscles lie under the intestines but are accessible for massage. Trigger points throughout the muscles need to be released and the muscles soften and elongated by stretching to reduce pain and symptoms.

Psoas Stretch

To help relieve the Psoas on your own rest on your back with knees bent and your feet placed parallel to each other, the same distance apart as the front of your hip sockets. Place your heels approximately 16-24 inches away from your buttocks. Keep your trunk and head parallel with the floor. DO NOT push or flatten the spine or tuck your pelvis. Simply rest in this position for 10-20 minutes. In this position, gravity releases the psoas.

Kim Sonsky