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Releasing the Psoas Muscle

Have you ever been to see your doctor, chiropractor, or massage therapist for lingering low back pain and left the session feeling the same discomfort? If you did, chances are that the medical professional simply ignored what could be one of the key contributors to low back pain and concentrated on only the area of pain itself. Though concentrated deep tissue massage on the sore spot feels good at the time, in the long run, both of you end up spinning your wheels as you continue to search for successful treatments. A licensed massage therapist can treat the back until the cows come home; a chiropractor can make adjustment after adjustment; and some doctors view injections or surgery as the only answer to the low back pain; but if the medical professional is not taking into account the Psoas muscle to treat low back pain, then an entire network of factors are being ignored. In our latest blog post, we discussed those factors. Today, we look at self release and massage treatments.

There are many ways to release the Psoas muscle. The yoga posture “Sun Salutation” is a great way to self-release and stretch the Psoas.  I usually explain to my clients to drop to one knee with the leg of the side you are stretching behind you and lunge with the forward leg, being careful not to over extend the knee. Also if you are able to hold this posture comfortably, then I suggest bending the torso to one side and get a really good stretch of the low back muscles as well as the hip flexors.

When anyone with deep low back pain is face down on my massage table, I like to passively stretch the Psoas muscle, by lifting the bent knee and extending the hip. The main work to the Psoas occurs If they are on their back. From this position, I flex the hip while I work around and under the hip bone to release the pain. This can be sensitive and sometimes invoke an emotional response, but when performed correctly and efficiently, it can be the difference between recurring low back pain and disappearing low back pain.

Because so much depends on the strength and flexibility of the Psoas, a good stretch of the Psoas at the end of the session is important to keep the muscle loose and functioning maximally.

Stay tuned…  self care videos to come!


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