Could This Be the Hidden Cause Behind Your Back Pain?

July 14, 2021

Could This Be the Hidden Cause of Your Back Pain?

Do you suffer from back pain? If so, you definitely aren't alone. In fact, back pain is the single leading cause of disability around the world. Experts estimate that around 80% of the global population will experience back pain in their lifetime.

While unpleasant, back pain is entirely treatable. What’s most important is figuring out the underlying cause of your back pain so that the root of the problem can be properly and thoroughly addressed.

One cause of lower back pain that you may not know about is psoas. Here’s what you need to know about this hidden yet crucial muscle in the lumbar spine.

What is the Psoas?

The psoas muscle isn’t one that you hear much about, though chances are that you’ve heard the term “hip flexor.” The psoas is one of the most important muscles in the spine. It’s located in the lower lumbar spine and extends all the way through the pelvis to the femur bone.

The psoas flexes the hip joint and pulls the thigh and trunk together, a movement that’s needed in order to walk. The muscle also stabilizes the back and helps to maintain a healthy posture by pulling the lumbar vertebrae forward and down when walking or sitting upright.

So when you’re walking, climbing stairs, or carrying your child, you can thank the psoas muscle for supporting such movements.

What is Psoas Syndrome?

Psoas syndrome occurs when the psoas muscle is injured. The condition causes back pain, especially in the lumbar region. While anyone can get psoas syndrome, athletes and those with physically demanding jobs are at a much higher risk.

Aside from lower back pain, psoas syndrome can also cause groin, pelvic, and buttock pain. The condition can also cause pain in the lumbosacral region, especially when sitting down or changing positions from sitting to standing.

The Relationship Between Psoas and Back Pain

There are many underlying factors that can cause back pain, but one that often goes misdiagnosed and underdiagnosed is a problematic psoas muscle. In fact, a majority of people have an overactive or tight psoas muscle and don’t even know it!

The most common cause of imbalanced psoas muscles is a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for hours each day causes the distance between the back and thighs to shorten. This in turn shortens the psoas muscle. And because many people sit with poor posture, the psoas muscle tightens and forms “knots” in the muscles.

When the psoas is pulled too tight, it can pull the spine and pelvis out of alignment. This not only causes pain and weakness in the lower body, it makes simple tasks like getting out of bed or walking a challenge.

Aside from spending too much time sitting, psoas problems can also be caused by:

  • Prolong marching or cycling motions
  • Weak stomach muscles
  • Weak buttock muscles
  • Poor posture
  • Sleeping in the fetal position

The good news is that most cases of psoas syndrome can be treated with posture correction, routine stretching, and professional chiropractic care.

How to Stretch Your Psoas

Stretching is one of the best ways to keep your body flexible and limber. If you’re experiencing common symptoms of psoas syndrome, an effective stretching routine can minimize, if not completely eliminate, the pain and discomfort.

There are several psoas stretches to practice. Here are some of the best poses that will stretch the muscle in hopes of returning it to a healthier, more stable state.

For best results, perform these stretches 2-3 times per day. You may choose to use a mirror to ensure your form is correct.

Kneeling Lunge

  • On a carpeted area, drop your left knee beneath you.
  • Extend your left leg away from your body and keep your toes touching the ground.
  • With your foot flat on the ground, place your right leg in front so that it forms a 90-degree angle.
  • Using your buttock muscles, gently drive your left knee down.
  • Maintain good posture by keeping your head upright and shoulders tall.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat with the opposite leg.

Knee to Chest

  • Lay on your back and hug your right knee towards your chest.
  • Keep your left leg parallel to the ground, with your toes pointing to the ceiling and your knee pressing the ground.
  • Breathe and exhale as you hug your knee tighter into your chest.
  • Keep your shoulder blades down and away from your ears.
  • Hold the stretch for 60-90 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Tabletop Knee Lift

  • Get into the tabletop position with your shoulders over your hands and your hips over your knees.
  • Engage the stabilizing shoulder muscles by drawing your shoulder blades away from your ears.
  • Keep your lower back flat by drawing your navel towards the spine.
  • Curl your toes under you, pointing them towards your arms.
  • Lift your knees a few inches off the ground while engaging your shoulders.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds.
  • Gently lower your knees back to the ground repeat 10-15 times.

Consult your Meridian Chiropractor for Lasting Relief

While stretching is a great option for easing back pain caused by a tight psoas muscle, it may not be the end-all-be-all fix. The best way to cure lower back pain is with the help of a chiropractor.

If you’re looking for a Meridian, Idaho chiropractor, look no further than Align Integrated Medical Clinic. We specialize in regenerative and chiropractic medicine to heal neck and back problems. Stop letting pain impact your health, happiness, and quality of life. 

At Align Integrated Medical Clinic, why focus on more than just the “what” of what’s causing your back pain. What’s more important is the “why.” Our team will work to uncover the cause of your back pain, so that you can get back to living a happy, enjoyable life.

Kick back pain to the curb once and for all! Call our office today at (208) 639-1397 to schedule an initial consultation and evaluation.

Chad Woolner
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