So as I was doing some studying up on the interwebs, and I stumbled across this awesome little article about the psoas (pronounced so-as). Read it here:
With many people having jobs where sitting is quite common, and for a fairly lengthy amount of time, it makes sense that certain muscles would become aggravated with us. The psoas is one of those muscles. Just so you have an understanding, even if it’s slight, here’s a picture showing where the psoas is:
The psoas attaches to the lumbar spine…20 times actually..and only once to each thigh.
So with that mini anatomy lesson, we’ll go into the importance of the psoas and why you should care about it.
One of the functions of the psoas is hip flexion. It’s also a main stabilizer in the vertebrae and keeping it from rotating into the frontal plane. As stated in the article, “The many attachments make it extremely important that the psoas can lengthen enough to allow the spine, pelvis and hips to articulate and move naturally for a pain-free and injury-free body”. So what does this mean, and again, why should you care? Well, since the psoas plays a pretty integral role in back stability, when it’s constantly in a shortened state it tightens that articulation. The muscles aren’t able to move like they were designed to. If you have or have ever had a desk job you may have had your share of back pain. One thing you probably didn’t deeply think about as a potential cause was your psoas. Let’s be honest…You probably didn’t even know what the heck a psoas was until now. When it’s able to extend to it’s full length, we are able to, “…stand in alignment and allow for hip extension”. If we can fully extend or allow the psoas to lengthen from its shortened state, we can’t have proper posture, which then deals more pressure to the lower back and hips.
So now how do we fix it? Well you can start by doing less “sitting” positions. Think about it… How often are we sitting at a desk, sitting in a car, sitting in a chair, or on a couch, or even sitting doing exercises like the leg extension or lat pull downs? You may have guessed….STRETCHING as well. So try standing when you answer a phone call/ Try exercises like swimming, skiing, or skating instead of cycling and running all the time. Walking is actually a highly underestimated exercise.
If you want to know a good way to stretch your psoas and some other pretty important muscles, come to the Stretch Class on Wednesday evenings at Sweat Therapy. Kim and Dana really take the opportunity to work on specific areas of the body that are causing you trouble. Come out and see for yourself! Your psoas will thank you!