Often, a short psoas contributes to LB, hip or pelvic pain.
Where is it? What does it do? Why is the psoas so complicated?
Rolfing and the mystery of the psoas
Henry, a new patient complains of a shooting pain in his low back every time he rises from sitting. He states that it has been several weeks since the onset, and it has been getting worse. After walking around for a few moments it goes away. Henry asks us to explain what is wrong with his back. In fact, the problem is with his hip flexor muscle, not his back. We explain to him that often a short psoas contributes to low back, hip or pelvic pain.
The psoas is a core muscle. It lies deep within the body, directly in front of the spine. The psoas originates on the lumbar and thoracic vertebrae, travels the front of the spine and attaches on the inside of the thigh bone at a protuberance called the lesser trochanter. The psoas muscle joins with the iliacus muscle in the sides of the pelvis. Together these two muscles are called the iliopsoas and are hip flexors.
The psoas is has many roles:
- The psoas contracts, shortens and brings the knee upwards and forward as we walk.
- The psoas stretches/lengthens to allow the hip to extend when we walk and when we rise from a chair.
- The psoas helps to stabilize the spine, support the lumbar curve and support upright posture.
- The psoas helps to create span and length in the body.
This is a tricky but important concept. When the body is working well, it maintains length as we move. Fred Astaire’s grace was partly do to his ability to lengthen his body as he danced. Read More