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Amy Weinberger

The Psoas muscle

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HOW CAN THE PSOAS BE INVOLVED IN LOW BACK PAIN?

–> I often have clients coming in telling me that they think their psoas is ‘tight’. It seems to get a lot more attention in general chat than other muscles yet few people really have much understanding of how this muscle works and implications of ‘tightness’ or ‘weakness’ to function and the clinical picture. So, here are a few more details about the psoas for you!

– The psoas attaches from your T12 vertebra all the way down to your L5 (that’s a lot, by the way), and then inserts on to the lesser trochanter of the femur
– This large attachment span means that a tight psoas can pull your lumbar spine in to extension (lumbar lordosis) and increase an anterior pelvic tillt (it is in fact the anterior lower fibers which cause an anterior tilt – the upper lateral fibers contribute to a posterior tilt)
– Increased lumbar lordosis and anterior pelvic tilt will put more pressure on the intervertebral discs
– The psoas is an antagonist to the Glute max, so, a tight psoas can inhibit the function of – turn ‘off’ – the glute max. If this happens, it will have a negative impact on force closure of the sacroiliac joint. We all need our GMax doing its bit! 
– The psoas is regarded as the ‘filet mignon’ – it is tender, and it can be reactive so needs to be treated with caution when releasing 
– Often the psoas is weak – due to extended periods sitting – and needs strengthening. Releasing a weak psoas may make symptoms worse
– The psoas is often referred to as the ‘iliopsoas’ because it conjoins with the iliacus muscle. Iliacus is short and strong and much more prone to tightness – it is often this muscle I will go after before the psoas

So, that’s it in a nutshell.. If you are experiencing back pain, hip or sacroiliac pain, or think your glutes are not firing, I’ll assess it. But it is only a part of the picture!

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About The Author
Amy Weinberger
Amy Weinberger

Amy Weinberger is an Advanced Clinical Massage Therapist based in Brighton & Hove. Her particular areas of special interest are issues relating to the low back, hip and pelvis.

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