wellbeing-brand-logo

Inspired living

Psoas muscles sore? What are they and why is it so important?


Psoas Muscles sore? What are they and how to improve them?

Psoas muscles are a group of both slow and fast twitching muscles that are in your back. They help control how you move, affect your posture and stabilise your spine. If you have ever moved the wrong way to affect these muscles it can be long suffering.

The psoas muscles connect your body to your legs so you use them if you are running, dancing, riding a bike or just sitting. They spring into action when you bend your hips and legs forward towards your chest. An injury to them is quite painful and can happen very easily.

You could be simply standing and twist round. Your feet never left the ground. You just did the twist the wrong way
You could be simply standing and twist round.

Your feet never left the ground. You just did the twist the wrong way. Or you could lift something the wrong way, or be working out a bit too much at the gym and all of a sudden they will tighten up.

They easily affect all the other muscles around them especially if you have neglected them and let them become weak. So if you have an overstretched or tight psoas muscle you will feel pain in your lower back and pelvic area.

What else do they do?

Psoas muscles support internal organs helping blood to be pushed in and out of cells and they also have a connection to your breathing.  There are two tendons for the diaphragm that stretch down and connect to the spine next to where the psoas muscles attach. One of the ligaments wraps around the top of each psoas muscle and the diaphragm and the psoas muscles are connected through fascia that are connected to the other hip muscles. This means that the connection between the psoas muscles and the diaphragm are what allow you to walk and breathe properly. It also influences your reactions to fear and excitement as it contracts when you are under stress.

Psoas muscles and Pain

If you are stressed for a long period of time, sit for too long, or do excessive exercise such as too much running or too many sit-ups your psoas is constantly contracted causing pain. However, pain does not always mean you need to stretch as you will only need to stretch if your psoas is short and tight, if it is overstretched and weak your will need to look into strengthening it.

Your pelvis can tilt, compressing the spine and pulling you forward. If overstretched and weak it can flatten the natural curve of your back. This in turn can cause tight hamstrings pulling down on the bones you sit on, causing the sacrum to lose its natural curve and making for a flattened lumbar spine. No matter what all this feels uncomfortable and needs professional intervention.

When to know if something is wrong

Tight psoas muscles means you have pain in your lower back and in your hips or knees. Also look at the length of your legs as a tight psoas can cause your pelvis to rotate forward so your leg on the side of the tight muscle moves forward so the other leg rotates backwards to counter balance making one longer than the other.

These muscles can also cause problems with constipation as the tightness can affect the movement of the blood vessels and lumbar nerves causing your torso to shorten the space between your organs. This will affect how you absorb your food and lead to constipation or even menstrual cramps. This happens because your psoas muscles act as a shelf for your kidneys and adrenals to sit on. When they are imbalanced so are your kidneys and adrenal glands, causing physical and emotional exhaustion. It can also cause the ribcage to thrust forward and affect your breathing, limiting the amount of oxygen taken in, making breathing shallower. In turn your neck muscles tighten up. So is there any wonder you are in pain?

Tips for home

To help prevent the above issues try to avoid sitting for too long and make sure you walk around to stretch your muscles
To help prevent the above issues try to avoid sitting for too long and make sure you walk around to stretch your muscles.

You can try a pillow in the car if you drive a lot or a rolled-up towel behind your lumbar spine. Do some resistance flexibility exercises or if you damaged it exercising cut down for a while and take it easy.

Telling if your psoas muscles are tight or overstretched is not always easy but you can often tell by looking in the mirror. Stand sideways and look at your pelvis. If you were to draw a line along your pelvis from back to front, that line should be pretty straight, however if the line tilts downward, your pelvis is moving toward the front of your body, meaning that your psoas muscles may be short and tight. If the line runs upward, your pelvis is tilted toward the back of your body, meaning that your psoas muscles could be overstretched and weak.

So if you have pain in the lower back, hips, pelvic area or even knees you may have tight or overstretched psoas muscles and need to visit the chiropractor or physiotherapist. These trained professionals will work out where the pain is coming from and treat it accordingly.



 

Jenetta Haim | WELLBEING COMMUNITY BLOGGER

Jenetta Haim runs Stressfree Management at 36 Gipps Road, Greystanes, and specialises in assisting your health and lifestyle in all areas by developing programs on either a corporate or personal level to suit your needs. Jenetta has just published a book called Stress-Free Health Management, A Natural Solution for Your Health available from your favourite bookstore or online. For more information and to get in touch, visit her website.