The Little Known Psoas Muscle’s Role in Lower Back Pain

What is the psoas?

It is one of the three most important muscles that connect the spine to the lower body. Along with the gluteus maximus and the piriformis, the psoas forms the vital intersection in the middle of our body that allows for articulation, coordination and communication between disparate parts of the body. The psoas in particular is a medium-sized muscle that attaches the lumbar vertebrae to the femur. Along the way, it passes across the outside of the pubis and connects with the iliacus muscle to form the iliopsoas.

The role of the psoas

In a healthy human, the psoas pulls the lumbar vertebrae down and forward, helping to create the lordotic curve that gives your spine stability and strength. In this way, the psoas is essential for providing the spine’s ability to bear the weight of the upper body and transfer forces in a healthy, fluid manner. The psoas is heavily involved in standing and triggers the movement of your back leg forward during walking and running.

What threatens the psoas?

The simple, one-word answer is: sitting. Lack of activity and sit-heavy lifestyles cause the psoas to remain contracted for long periods of time. It trains itself into this shortened position and contributes to tension by creating a pull at the base of the spine. By pulling the pelvis forward, the psoas muscle is now actively increasing pressure on the lumbar vertebrae which often leads to spinal pain. The good news is that psoas dysfunction is highly treatable.

How do we treat psoas dysfunction?

If we diagnose that the psoas is creating a pull on your spine, we set a course to remedy this situation with natural modalities. Using targeted spinal adjustments and muscular release techniques, we loosen the restrictive position that the psoas has assumed. By restoring lost range of motion, you are able to move more freely and feel less pain. If you are interested in finding out if psoas tightness is contributing to your lower back pain, give our office in Ramsey a call to schedule an appointment today.

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