~Time and time again, pain and movement dysfunction in my clients seems to involve, to a greater or lesser extent, the psoas. Having sat in lectures, read books and research papers, and listened to anecdotal evidence, I now have the clinical experience of my own which confirms just how the psoas is an important link in all sorts of cases. Hips, low backs, necks even.. And then breathing. Emotion. Fear.
Dr Perry Nickelston (‘Stop Chasing Pain’) says ‘The psoas is connected to the diaphragm through connective tissue/fascia which affects breathing, posture and the fear reflex. Fear and pain alter breathing patterns. Often people in pain will hold their breath for stabilization and/or anticipation of pain with movement. Fear and pain causes shallow breathing, altering non-optimal oxygen and carbon dioxide ratios in your body. The fear reflex draws people forward into a hunched over ‘primal survival’ pattern that Thomas Hannah aptly called the Red Light Reflex, closing off of the body. I call it the ‘Vulnerability Reflex.’ Pulling in for safety and stability reducing risk. The forward flexion human cashew posture shortens the psoas causing tightness/stiffness and often weakness.’
The psoas can be an intimate muscle to work with in that it is often referred to as ‘the muscle of the soul’. Careful work to this muscle may unlock more than just your back pain!