7 Secrets to Heal the Psoas Muscle to Stay Active and Pain Free

Young beautiful sportswoman making lung  

 

The psoas (so-as) is the only muscle that directly

connects your spine to your lower body.  It allows

you to walk, jump, run, or stair climb. . . anything

that requires you to lift your knee up toward your

body.

 

In fact, Runner's World reports that a runner will

contract the psoas muscle more than 5,000 times

during a one hour run.  Weakness or tightness in

this muscle causes an inefficient running pattern.

 

In addition, an irritated psoas can cause back or

hip pain and stiffness.  Read more about

symptoms caused by the psoas muscle, or

identify if it's a problem for you. . . visit last

week's blog post.

Uncover Your Hidden Psoas Muscle for

Hip and Back Pain Relief 

Here are the 7 secrets to how I was able to relieve

the pain and stiffness my psoas was causing me.

 

1. Relaxation 

 

Relax the psoas muscle by deep breathing  while

lying on your back.  Take some deep breaths in

allowing your stomach to rise.  As you exhale

your stomach will fall and gravity will relax your

spine toward the ground.

 

As you feel the bones of your back and pelvis

"sinking" toward the floor your psoas muscle is

relaxing.  This practice of "letting go" is

important to create an internal awareness of

these deep muscles and break the habit of

keeping them tense.

 

 2. Stretch

 

If you sit at a desk all day, I recommend that you

perform stretching exercises for your psoas daily.

It only takes a few minutes and can change the

way you move throughout your day.

 

You will stretch this muscle in a lunge position

sometimes called “runner’s stretch”. When you

stretch one leg out in front of you and one behind

you while keeping your pelvis stable, you stretch

the psoas and other hip muscles.

 

 3. Foam Roll

 

Foam rolling will benefit the psoas muscle, but

you want to address the surrounding muscles

NOT the muscle itself.  The psoas is a deep

structure in the abdomen and there are many

other tissues and organs in the way that could be

damaged.

 

Instead, foam roll your thigh muscles, buttocks,

and low back muscles to release tension.  In doing

so, the psoas muscle will not have to work

overtime to compensate for these muscles.

 

4. Strengthen the Psoas

 

Strengthening the psoas muscle requires

resistance exercises that bring your trunk and

legs closer to one another.

 

Perform hanging leg lifts using a pull-up bar

positioned so your hang off the ground. The psoas

muscles contract when you pull your knees

toward your chest and when you control the

speed of movement as you bring your legs back

down.

 

 5. Engage Your Core

 

The most effective abdominal exercise to

specifically lengthen the psoas muscle is to

alternate bringing the knees to the chest one at a

time. Exhale when the leg is outstretched, and

then switch holding the opposite leg and exhaling

again.

 

If you do sit ups as part of your abdominal

exercise, don’t hook your ankles under something

as this adds strain to the psoas. Instead, keep

your knees and hips flexed at 90 degrees (on a

ball or chair). This makes the abdominal muscles

work while not over stressing the psoas muscle.

 

 6. Change Habits

 

Changing our habits can be the hardest strategy,

but the most beneficial in the long term.  Make it

a habit to limit sitting time, especially in a leaning

forward position.

 

If you must sit at work, take frequent breaks.

You might even consider a workstation that allows

you to alternate between sitting and standing.

 

 7. Soft Tissue Release

 

Simply stretching is often not enough to relax or

reset the psoas muscle.  A trained professional

often needs to diagnose the problem, release the

muscle, and address the surrounding joints and

muscles to prevent re-injury.   It's a sensitive area

and requires relaxation of the patient as well as

skill of the practitioner.

 

By releasing your psoas, incorporating movements

that both strengthen and lengthen the psoas, you

can improve your movement patterns, decrease

stiffness, and relieve pain.

 

The ultimate goal . . . move with beautiful posture,

balance, and ease.

 

If you have pain or stiffness that is keeping you

from moving with ease. . . request a call from one

of our physical therapists today. . . Inquire HERE.