These 3 psoas muscle stretches can hale you lengthen your tight psoas and prevent low back pain.
The psoas is a rope like muscle about the size of you lower forearm that is located in the very back of your abdomen. It is one of the most powerful members of a muscle group referred to as the hip flexors. The hip flexors are responsible for pull your thigh up toward your torso.
The psoas attaches to the lumbar spine (the spine of the low back), it stretches forward and down behind the internal organs where is eventually attaches to the inside of the upper leg bone (femur).
The psoas is particularly problematic for those of us who spend most of our waking hours sitting. Prolonged sitting can cause the psoas and other hip flexors to become short and tight.
A tight psoas can pull the low back vertebrae forward and down toward the thigh bone, thus creating lordosis: an over arched low back. Lordosis is a common cause of low back pain.
Do I have a tight psoas?
This psoas muscle stretch can also be used to test the flexibility of you psoas.
Lying Psoas Muscle Stretch
- Come down to the floor and lie on your back with both legs straight.
- Use both your hands to grab your thigh and pull one knee towards your chest. Avoid tucking or lifting the pelvis.
- If the straight leg lifts off the floor, then your psoas is too tight.
- Try the other side. Muscular imbalances are common, one psoas maybe tighter than the other.
Posas Muscle Stretch
In addition to the lying psoas stretch the warrior I pose in the doorway and hip bridge will help you lengthen this muscle.
Warrior I is a basic yoga pose. By doing the pose in the doorway you can teach yourself how to lengthen the psoas while standing.
Warrior I in the doorway
- Find an open doorway and stand with your right side just behind the door jam.
- Step your left leg forward, through the doorway
- Position the right foot two to three feet behind you, with that back heel off the floor.
- Reach your arms overhead and rest your hands on the wall.
- Bend both knees slightly, so that you can press your pubic bones, navel, and breastbone against the door frame.
- You should use the door frame as a guideline for aligning your pubic bones, navel, and breastbone.
- Lie down on the floor face up
- Bend your knees so that the feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, with heels pulled in close to the buttocks.
- Put a yoga block or small ball between your feet, and squeeze a second block between your knees (the blocks keep your thighs parallel which will prevent the psoas from externally rotating the hips, which could casue low back compression and knee pain).
- Exhale press all four corners of your feet into the ground and starting with your tail bone lift your pelvis off the floor.
- Hold for 20 seconds.
Unfortunately, the long hours of siting that our jobs require of us could be creating a short, tight psoas and low back pain. Stretching your psoas on a regular basis could undo some of that shortening that occurs while sitting throughout the long work day.