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Presenting: the Hosmer Highlight of the Month!

By: Dr. Seth Hosmer, DC

The Psoas and its Connections

The psoas is a deep-seated core muscle connecting the lumbar vertebrae to the femur. A primary connector between the torso and leg, the psoas, which is a primary hip flexor, is an important muscle no matter how active your lifestyle. 

It affects posture in its interaction with the spine and pelvis, but it also helps stabilize the spine. If out of balance, it can be a significant contributor to both low back and pelvic pain. 

The Facts and Common Associated Problems

The most common chiropractic problem we see with this muscle group is caused by shortening. Shortening can be especially bad if it is unilateral and can lead to asymmetrical repercussions like overcompensation patterns, if left untreated. When short, it can cause poor loading patterns of the back, leading to injury and pain. We often see patients with tight a psoas also suffering from overly stiff lower backs and SI joints. This is because the psoas is intimately connected to the lumbar spine.

There are a handful of nerves that travel through these muscles. Compression of the femoral nerve, which runs between iliacus and psoas, can lead to nerve entrapment symptoms and restrictions. Similarly, we also see a fair number of genitofemoral nerve entrapments, which causes genital pain.

Lots of people have these problems and aren’t even aware it is an issue until it manifests as pain or injury! What’s worse, this problem can present as another issue when we first consider our abdominal contents (stomach, intestines etc) as the source, not realizing that there are muscles and nerves to consider!

Psoas injuries are actually becoming a more prevalent and visible issue as our modern lifestyles’s encourage far too much sitting and stagnant postures. Additionally, the hip flexors can become short and tight if you spend most of your waking hours sitting or if you repeatedly work them in activities like sit-ups, cycling, and certain weight-training exercises.

How Chiropractic Can Help 

Manual therapies, such as Active Release Technique (ART) and massage, are helpful, especially in the severe cases like with nerve entrapments. In-office chiropractic treatments will also help get these muscles working in better harmony with the rest of the body. We happily provide our patients with the tools and resources necessary to combat this tightness. Check out our extensive online library of rehab videos like the one below, to help treat these psoas-related injuries.

Daily stretching is a good bet, too!

If, while reading this post, you found yourself shifting in your seat, stretching your torso, or even poking around your abdomen as you read about pain you’ve also been experiencing… check out the active psoas stretch below for some assistance!

By incorporating the active psoas stretch, strengthening and lengthening the psoas, you can release habitual muscle-holding patterns. This will improve your low-back alignment and result in better overall posture with more space and balance!

For existing hch patients, we encourage you to ask your chiropractor about how your psoas might be affecting your health! Not yet an hch patient? Give us a call at 503-227-2279 (Pearl) or 503-293-3001 (Multnomah) to find out how to become one or contact us online!