A Very Misunderstood Muscle

We have heard over and over again about the psoas muscle being tight. Your massage therapist may tell you, you may have heard it from your trainer, and even your PT may have it wrong. So many folks think they are struggling with a tight psoas and that pesky psoas is the source of many woes: lower back pain, sacro-iliac joint pain, hip pain, and thigh pain.

A Very Misunderstood Muscle

We have heard over and over again about the psoas muscle being tight. Your massage therapist may tell you, you may have heard it from your trainer, and even your PT may have it wrong. So many folks think they are struggling with a tight psoas and that pesky psoas is the source of many woes: lower back pain, sacro-iliac joint pain, hip pain, and thigh pain.

You’ve tried stretching it – but to no avail. You’ve had it pummeled to death by your massage therapist and still, the psoas is the bane of your existence.

The psoas may be the source of your pain, true. But stop blaming your poor psoas for feeling tight because it’s not tight, it’s weak. A tight psoas muscle has been implicated as a source of many problems, but definitive research has finally cleared it. (Comerford, Richardson)

This is not a muscle you can or should ignore. No, if you’ve had any back injuries, your psoas is probably not working the way it should. Instead of being tight, it has gone quiet. Your psoas became weak within minutes of your injury and at the exact level that the injury occurred.

Here’s what happens then:

Your lower back, sacroiliac joint, and hip may all become unstable. Your lower half is untethered, and all the other muscles around the spine and hip tighten in an effort to keep you from falling apart. It’s a really good thing you have been doing your abdominal muscle work, or working on your multifidus, because otherwise, you’d be in real trouble. But this might just be the missing piece to help you finally get a handle on your lower back pain.

We have a video to show you how to find and activate your psoas muscle. Once you can do that, there are ways to challenge it more, but we will save that for another time. Warning: activating the psoas can be a bit tricky. If you can’t find it, make an appointment with an ALTA therapist to get it figured out. We have tricks to help you find your slacker psoas no matter how long it’s been off-line. Your spine will be more stable and less painful if you do.     

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