The Psoas Spaz
Many of us have been working from home and maybe even taken up cycling or hiking to get outdoors and keep active.
All that time sitting or engaging in activities that involve bringing your leg toward your body have undoubtedly tightened up your psoas muscle. If you've been experiencing pain in your (low) back, pelvic area, hip flexors, abdomen, or legs; or having any issues with digestion or emotional distress, a tight psoas may be to blame.
Nurse Practitioner Connie Lapadat tells Op Med* that:
"A tight psoas muscle will cause a multitude of problems such as chronic back pain, poor posture, bloating, constipation, functional leg length discrepancy, leg rotation, sciatica, an obtunded abdomen, and can affect the drainage of lymph".
If you aren't sure what or where the psoas muscle is- you're not alone. I didn't know until my chiropractor pressed on it and my eyeballs nearly popped out of my head.
Your psoas muscle is the long muscle that connects your spine to your legs. It stretches from either side of the lower lumbar, through the pelvis, and down to the femur (see the red and blue below).
Knowing is half the battle. Now that we know what it is, where it is, and what activities can cause it to tighten up, let's learn how to stretch it out so you can reclaim your vitality!
Here are five easy ways to help stretch and release the psoas:
1. The image above shows one of my favorite psoae stretches. The further you pull that back leg towards your body, the greater the stretch. Likewise, if you push your hip forward (as in the illustrated image above me) you'll get a deeper stretch.
2. This next one is similar to the first. Instead of bringing the back leg up, drop it to the floor, press your hips forward and toward the floor; bring your palms together and clasp your fingers, leaving your pointer fingers outstretched (sort of like a finger gun); reach your arms up towards the ceiling and back. This will deepen the stretch in the hip flexors and elongate the abdominal muscles
- The Bridge is a great stretch that will target not only the psoas but the abdomen, hip abductors, back, neck, triceps, deltoids, glutes, and upper legs. This stretch will also help to strengthen the back, legs, and lower abdomen.
If you aren't able to do a full bridge but want to practice, use a wall to help you. Reach your hands behind you and walk them down the wall. Alternatively, you could use a medicine ball. Sit on the ball and walk your feet forward slowly as you lean back and position the ball under your back until your hands reach the floor.
4. If you're not keen on the bridge at all, opt for hip raises. This will target many of the same muscle groups and also help open up your chest. For this stretch, lie on your back and put your feet on the floor, knees up and hip-width apart. Raise your hips as high as you can without causing pain or strain on your lower back. You can leave your arms at your side or clasp them together underneath you and press your shoulder blades together for a deeper chest stretch.
5. Finally, you can help release the psoas with a small ball (I didn't have a ball so I used a dried coconut and a cloth). Position the ball right above your pelvic bone and make like a plank on top of it. This *hurts* so good. You can roll around a bit to target where you need- try rolling it up and down along the sides or side to side across the lower abdomen.
With each of these stretches, be sure to take slow deep breaths and exhale fully. You can go deeper into a stretch by inhaling deeply and leaning deeper into the stretch on the exhale.
Do NOT overstretch. Only stretch as far as is comfortable for you. Hold each stretch for about 20 seconds and repeat a few times. Be sure to drink plenty of water to rehydrate the muscles and flush toxins released.
I hope this gives you some relief, my love!
Of course, to really give yourself the best possible relief, be sure to get some biotech. This will help tremendously on its own; when used in conjunction with other healing modalities, such as stretching, the benefits compound in unbelievable ways!
You can check out the newest additions to the Propriis collection here. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Let me know!
If you know anyone that could use some fast pain relief, be sure to forward this post to them! And don't forget to let me know in comments or on Facebook which stretch was your favorite =D
Reference* Is Allopathic Medicine Missing the Diagnosis of a Tight Psoas Muscle? -Connie Lapadat, 2019 Opmed.doximity.com.
I am not a doctor or healthcare professional. I am only offering suggestions based on what methods have worked for me. These stretches should be performed at your own risk. If you believe you have a medical issue or emergency, please see a licensed doctor or healthcare professional. As injuries may result from improper form or overstretching, please use your best judgment when performing any stretches or other forms of physical activity. Propriis LLC or myself (Nadia Ali) shall not be held liable for any injury resulting from following any suggestions or information you have been provided by me or Propriis LLC.