Psoas Tightness, Treatment Options
The psoas muscle, pronounced as "SO-as," is a critical yet muscle in our body. It plays a crucial role in hip flexion and the stability of our lower back and pelvis. When the psoas muscle becomes tight or tense, it can lead to discomfort, pain, and even postural issues. As we saw in the first blog about the Psoas, sometimes it can be blamed for issues that it might not be causing, so testing is crucial before you start treating it. Once you have found the muscle be to part of the cause of symptoms, starting with mobility is the best first place to start with treatment
Thankfully, there are several effective self mobility techniques you can use to treat a tight psoas muscle at home. In this blog, we'll explore what the psoas muscle is, why it might become tight, and offer practical tips to help you release and stretch this essential muscle.
Understanding the Psoas Muscle
The psoas muscle, also known as the iliopsoas, consists of two muscles: the psoas major and the iliacus. These muscles connect the lower spine (vertebrae T12-L5), pelvis, and the upper thigh bone (femur). The psoas plays a vital role in stabilizing the spine, supporting proper posture, and facilitating movements like walking, running, and bending at the waist.
Why the Psoas Muscle Gets Tight
Several factors can contribute to the tightening of the psoas muscle:
Sedentary Lifestyle: Sitting for prolonged periods can lead to a shortening/weakening of the psoas muscle, causing it to become tight and potentially painful.
Overuse: Engaging in activities that repeatedly flex the hips, such as cycling or excessive sit-ups, or even repeated kicking, can strain the psoas muscle.
Stress: Stress can lead to muscle tension throughout the body, including the psoas.
Injury or Trauma: A fall or impact to the lower back or pelvis can lead to psoas muscle tightness as a protective mechanism.
Self-Care Tips for Treating a Tight Psoas Muscle
Stretching: Stretching tends to be the main go to for most providers when it comes to psoas tightness but here at The Health Lab we tend to use this as a last effort for reasons we won't discuss in the blog today. At the very least we will say if stretching works, we wouldn't be writing this blog.
Kettlebell trigger point release: Lay on your back and flip a moderate kettlebell upside down. Located your belly button and move one handle width wide from there. Let the handle of the kettlebell sink into your abdominal wall which will be pressing into your Psoas. Then, move your knee in and out for 50 reps. Do this several times a day.
Kneeling hip oscillations: Anchor a thick band and then put the band within the fold of your butt. Back up as much as you can, causing the band to pull forward into your hip. Next, Kneel onto the leg that is within the band. Keep an upright posture as you very slightly shift your pelvis forward and backwards. Complete 50 reps of oscillations several times a day.
Hip extension Contract relax: Let your painful leg hang off the edge of a surface while you hold the knee of your other leg towards the same shoulder in order to support your low back. With the painful leg, actively try to press the heel down towards the floor which should turn on your butt. Hold this for 5 seconds then rest. Complete 20 contractions at a time. Do this several times a day.
A tight psoas muscle can lead to discomfort and impact your overall mobility and posture. Fortunately, with regular self-care and attention, you can effectively treat and prevent psoas muscle tightness. Incorporate these self-care tips into your routine, and remember that consistency is key to achieving long-term relief. In the final blog on the Psoas we will show different options to strength this muscle. If you improve your mobility but don't strength the much, symptoms at some point are likely to come back. All roads lead to load and the psoas muscle is not excluded from needed strength.
If your symptoms persist or worsen, don't hesitate to schedule a free discovery visit with Dr. Loren here at The Health Lab. Your psoas muscle plays a crucial role in your overall well-being, so it's essential to give it the care and attention it deserves.