The Psoas Muscle

The psoas muscle, sometimes known as the iliopsoas or hip flexor, is a long flat muscle that runs from your spine to your pelvis. It connects with the quadriceps femoris and helps you move from side to side. However, if it’s weak, pain can occur in other parts of your body, such as hips, knees, or lower back muscles. This article will provide a brief definition of what causes this kind of pain and prevent further problems by strengthening the psoas.

The “what does psoas release feel like” is a muscle that attaches to the spine and is responsible for bending the hip. The psoas releases when you sit down or stand up. If your psoas isn’t releasing properly, it can cause back pain.

We are all too familiar with aches and pains in our bodies, particularly in the low back. If you’re always looking for ways to quickly get rid of back discomfort, it may be time to look into the psoas muscle.

The psoas major, also known as the iliopsoas, is one of the most essential muscles in the human body. Why? This deep-seated core muscle supports your back, among other things. If the psoas is weak, it may cause back pain, neck discomfort, and a variety of other problems. In reality, the psoas major muscle is very distinctive when it comes to postural function. It’s the only muscle that links the lower body to the lumbar spine. So it’s apparent that caring for the deep psoas muscle is essential for a healthy, pain-free body. Many others feel that a healthy psoas is beneficial to mental and spiritual well-being as well.

What Is the Psoas Muscle?

On each side of the back, there are two psoas muscles. The psoas major is the bigger of the two, while the psoas minor is the smaller. The psoas major, often known as “the great psoas,” begins near the base of the rib cage and goes down the thigh, parallel to the femur. The hip is flexed by the psoas major. The psoas minor is a muscle that starts at the bottom of the rib cage and travels down to the bony pelvis. The lower spine is flexed by it.

The psoas assist us in various everyday tasks, including walking and running, by releasing the legs. The psoas muscle is also important for maintaining proper posture. Anyone who does Pilates is familiar with the psoas muscle, which is renowned for improving psoas muscle health and back problems. In addition, Olympic weightlifters, runners, triathletes, and gymnasts all depend substantially on the psoas’ assistance.

Let’s look at the location of the muscle. What is known as the iliopsoas group is made up of two muscles. They are the iliacus and the psoas major. After your strength class, you’ve undoubtedly heard your exercise teacher recommend stretching your hip flexors. The hip flexor muscles psoas major and iliacus are significant because they stabilize and support the lower back. The psoas minor is another muscle that is more valuable for four-legged animals than for humans.

Psoas is a Greek word that means “loin area.” Starting at the bottom of the rib cage and working its way down to the top of the femur, the psoas muscle group forms an upside-down V linked to the spine. It’s a long spindle-like muscle that lies between the pelvic inlet and the pelvic floor. It connects to the iliacus muscle to produce the iliopsoas. To assist in relieving stiff psoas, a chiropractor might apply pressure to the pelvic inlet region. This is a typical treatment for athletes in addition to stretches, but it should always be done by a soft tissue specialist with psoas release experience.

Potential Issues

A healthy psoas supports daily activity, while a weak psoas may make even the simplest chore difficult and cause more serious issues like swayback. The psoas is a critical messenger of the central nervous system, and when it lacks support, your body reacts to gravity differently than it should.

Muscle imbalances often lead the body to compensate in another region, resulting in extra problems and even damage. Psoas syndrome or iliopsoas tendonitis may be identified in certain patients. Hip discomfort is caused by several conditions. While these are two distinct disorders, they are often characterized in the same way; nonetheless, psoas syndrome is a condition in which the iliopsoas muscle or tendon is stretched, torn, or ruptured. An inflamed muscle is involved in iliopsoas tendonitis. The piriformis syndrome is also linked to this kind of discomfort and may be used to narrow down a diagnosis.

Danielle Prohom Olson, a yoga therapist, refers to the psoas muscle as “the soul muscle.” “The psoas is related to the diaphragm by connective tissue or fascia, which influences both our respiration and fear reaction,” Olson writes on her website. This is because the psoas is directly related to the reptile brain, the oldest component of the brain stem and spinal cord.”

In fact, according to psoas specialist Liz Koch, author of The Psoas Book, emotional trauma or a lack of emotional support may cause a chronically constricted psoas to leak. As a consequence, there is a loss of basic consciousness. This makes sense since your limbic system is linked to emotions like fear and worry.

Symptoms of Psoas Disorders

  • There is discomfort, pain, and pains in the front hip socket.
  • In the hip socket, there is a restriction.
  • Bursitis/tendinitis of the iliopsoas muscle
  • Moving the thigh backward is restricted.
  • Deep pelvic pain on a tight-feeling side
  • “Bellyache” is a deep pain in the stomach.
  • Constipation that lasts a long time
  • Pelvis twisted

What Makes a Psoas Muscle Weak?

A weak psoas is usually caused by two frequent behaviors: sitting all day and improper posture. According to the National Association of Sports Medicine, a weak psoas is caused by too much sitting. A weak psoas may also cause lower back pain. For long periods of time, sitting may cause the psoas, iliopsoas, and rectus femoris to stay in a shortened posture. What occurs is that these muscles get used to being shortened, which causes them to become tight and hyperactive. Because these muscles are linked to the pelvic and lumbar spine, they may shorten or tense, causing a forward tilt of the pelvis and gluteal muscular weakness. This, when combined, might result in lower back discomfort. Use a standing desk to cut down on your daily sitting time. If not remedied, bad posture, whether standing or sitting, may cause a lot of pain. Although rounded shoulders or a forward head posture may seem to be the most comfortable for the body, we are continually pushing against gravity, which weakens the body’s supporting muscles over time.


1. Potential to alleviate lower back pain.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association., the psoas is a crucial muscle associated with our core muscular development. Yet, the psoas was first ignored as a possible cause of back discomfort in a 48-year-old man. He had osteopathic manipulative therapy, which is described as hands-on care provided by a skilled physician.

By moving the muscles and joints using stretching methods, light pressure, and resistance, a skilled practitioner may assist diagnose, treat, and even prevent sickness or injury. The patient had remarkable improvement, proving that back pain may be eradicated without surgery with the support of a specialist and the patient’s determination to execute particular exercises at home.

2. Potential to Affect Your Sporting Activities

The psoas muscle is responsible for allowing you to run. The psoas is a rope-like muscle that contracts with each knee raise and lengthens with each leg swing back to its original position. During an hour-long run, a runner will contract and extend the psoas over 5,000 times, according to Runner’s World.

The psoas muscle is also important for healthy posture. When used in conjunction with other core muscles such as the abdominals and obliques and those that assist create and support the lower back, the psoas offer stability, and a firm posture. As a result, if you have a psoas issue, it’s probable that it’ll influence your athletic activities, especially those that demand jogging.

3. Assists in a Pain-Free Pregnancy

The shift in your center of gravity is one of the many changes that occur during pregnancy. As the baby grows, the pelvis slips forward, causing the pelvis to migrate toward the front of the body. As a result, the muscles in the lower back may stiffen, and the hamstrings and glutes may stretch out and weaken as a result. Furthermore, the ligaments that link to the uterus might be overworked, resulting in discomfort in the abdomen and lower back. The psoas and surrounding muscles absorb a lot of the tension, which may lead to stiffness and imbalances, which can be uncomfortable. Most, if not all, of the discomfort maybe alleviated by completing stretches and exercises that strengthen the psoas.

Stretches and Exercises for the Psoas Muscle

Whether you’re an athlete, pregnant, or not at all active, it’s critical to release the psoas to ensure that it’s in excellent operating condition and provide you with the support you need to do any activity – even picking up groceries or carrying your child. Yoga, Pilates, and my core practice are all excellent choices, but completing a few basic stretches at home may make a huge impact. Some psoas stretches and exercises to perform a few times a week are listed below. If you work at a desk all day, it’s best if you do these exercises at least once a day. It simply takes a few minutes and can completely transform how you walk throughout the day.

Rolling in Foam

While a soft-tissue therapist should release the psoas, NASM recommends foam rolling other stiff hip muscles, such as the TFL and hip adductors. Hold on to sensitive places for 30 to 90 seconds while you roll. Make sure foam rolling is safe for you by seeing your doctor. According to NASM, it’s not recommended for cancer, blood clots, aneurysms, anticoagulant treatment, congestive heart failure, open wounds or skin lesions, bursitis, obstructive edema, or certain other health issues,

Stretch your hip flexors 

Sit at the far end of the table. Thighs have been lifted halfway off the table. Lean back until your lower back and sacrum are flat on the table, grabbing one knee and pulling it to your chest. You’re pushing the knee too far if your back is curving and your pelvis is tilting. Simply relax your grip to correct. Allow one leg to dangle freely off the table. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. On each side, do three to four repetitions.

Kneeling Lunge 

This is a fairly typical exercise that is done during the stretch portion of many gym group fitness courses. Kneel down on one knee with the front leg forward at a 90-degree angle (you may require a pad below if you’re on a hard-surfaced floor). Tuck your pelvic in and lunge forward softly. Continue to progressively lean into the stretch, ensuring there is no exceptional discomfort. If your psoas is tight, your lower back may arch; nonetheless, strive to maintain your back straight. Next, raise your arms high and lean your hips forward another inch or two to provide some core stretching. 3 repetitions on each side while holding the lunge for 30 seconds.

Leg Lifts

Lie down on your back with your legs out in front of you. If your back arches too much, place your hands behind your bottom or above your head as long as your lower back is pushed into the ground by concentrating on bringing your belly button towards the spine. Lift and hold your left leg several inches above the ground for 3 to 5 seconds. Perform 10 to 15 reps on each leg. You can perform them with ankle weights as you grow stronger.

Bridge with a Ball

Lie down on a stability ball as you’re doing crunches, with your neck and shoulders securely supported by the ball. With your feet straight forward and toes facing forward, shoulder-width apart, engage your core, and don’t let your hips drop. Drop your glutes to the floor slowly and steadily (but not so far that your shoulders leave the ball), then push up through your heels to activate the glutes and bring your hips back in alignment with your spine.

This exercise is meant to improve the gluteal muscles, which are generally weak due to a tight psoas.

Massage and Release of the Psoas Muscle

The psoas is a muscle that is firmly implanted in the core cavity, surrounded by essential organs, and may be difficult to locate. A chiropractor or physical therapist may be the best option when it comes to releasing the psoas. It’s a delicate region that necessitates the patient’s complete rest. While a general full-body massage may help, working with a qualified expert to get reach the psoas for an aided release is suggested.

Stretching and releasing other hip muscles closer to the surface of the body will help to reduce general tension in your core cavity, which will help to improve psoas health.


It’s generally a good idea to start any new workout slowly. Before beginning the workouts, speak with your sports medicine doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor. When it comes to a psoas release, you should contact with a professional since there are possibly serious side effects if you don’t work with someone who is qualified and skilled in this field.

Final Thoughts

The psoas muscle is a deep-seated abdominal muscle that is located near a number of internal organs. The psoas major is a muscle that links the lower spine to the rest of your body. Due to factors like continuous sitting and probably chronic stress, the psoas muscle and other hip muscles are often tight and hyperactive. A soft tissue practitioner should release your psoas muscle, such as a physical therapist or chiropractor. Foam rolling other tight hip muscles like the adductors and TFL, stretching them, and focusing on strengthening weak gluteal muscles are all things you may do at home to enhance your psoas function.

While surgery is often recommended for back pain, experts are discovering that concentrating on psoas health may significantly reduce lower back discomfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a tight psoas cause lower back pain?

A: Yes, because the psoas muscles help to stabilize your spine and keep it straight. When these muscles are too tight, they can cause lower back pain by pulling on the sciatic nerve, which runs through your buttock.

How do you know if your psoas is tight or weak?

A: Your psoas is tight if your sitting forward in a chair, and its weak if you’re leaning back.

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