What does the psoas do?
The Psoas is a part of a group of hip flexors called the iliopsoas.
- connects the upper body to the lower body
- flexes the hip
- adducts the femur
- externally rotates the hip
- helps flex the spine
- stabalises the lumbar spine
- stabalises the head of the femur
A LESSER KNOWN FUNCTION
of the psoas is, it has an influence on the dynamics of the respiratory function and the pelvic floor through it’s fascial connection with both structures. This helps create a relationship between the pelvic floor and the rhythm of the thoracic diaphragm through breath.
From this point of view it is thought to be involved in the venous and lymphatic drainage of abdomen, pelvis and lower limbs.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF AN UNHAPPY TIGHT PSOAS
- Lower back pain
- can extend down to buttocks
- Pain when standing upright but is a slight ache when sitting
- difficulty getting up from deep sit position
- lower right belly pain (it can mimic appendix pain!)
- groin or pelvic pain
- upper leg pain or knee pain
- shuffling or limping walk & more
MUSCLE OF THE SOUL
Known as the muscle of the soul, the psoas is thought to have a deep connection to our emotions. In Chinese Medicine it is affected by the Water element and kidneys with the emotion of fear. Dr. Peter Levine found that when animals & humans went into fight & flight response after a traumatic event, their muscles would store tension & cause pain. The psoas was one that was typically inhibited after trauma, & releasing it was found to help bring a sense of safety & regulation.
WAYS TO RELEASE THE PSOAS
Acupuncture: trigger points & meridian work.
Yoga poses incl. upward dog, triangle pose, tree pose, bridge & pigeon pose.
Osteopathy, massage, bowen, shiatsu, body work & kinesiology can all help to release the psoas.