Psoas (the p is silent so it is pronounced soas) muscle - sometimes called the muscle of the soul... It can hold trauma and is the main muscle that is addressed by TRE® (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises).
However, it's not a well known muscle, and is not visible like Popeye's huge arms when he eats his Spinach.
While I like spinach and I'm sure it's good for us, it never seemed to give me big muscles anywhere!
Your psoas muscles are a deep-seated core muscles, connecting the lumbar vertebrae to the femur (your lower back to your leg). The psoas major is the biggest and strongest player in a group of muscles called the hip flexors: together they contract to pull the thigh and the torso toward each other. If you didn't have this muscle you could not lift your leg up.
Your psoas muscles attach at the 12th thoracic vertebrae to your 5 lumbar vertebrae, through your pelvis and then finally attach to your femurs. In fact, they are the only muscles that connect your spine to your legs.
Because it inserts into all those lower back bones of the spine, it is very important to address it for bulging disks on this area. I'm sure you can see from the picture , that it will have a big impact on the way the pelvis sits.
My apologies to vegetarians but those of you that have eaten filet mignon will know it is the tenderest steak. This steak is in fact the psoas muscle of the cow and the reason the meat is so tender is because it has a high water content. So PLEASE drink water - your psoas needs it!
Your breathing can be altered by your psoas muscle too, as your diaphragm and psoas insert into the same vertebra at the top of the psoas.
Your psoas will contract during long periods of stress; if you sit for long periods (such as in front of you computer all day, or you drive for a living); if you tend to sleep in the foetal position or do a lot of sit ups.
All of these activities compress the front of your hip and shorten your psoas muscle.
There are 2 visible ways you can tell.
Often people are told they have one leg longer than the other. If you measure the bone length very occasionally this can be true but usually it is caused by an imbalance in the pelvis cause by the psoas muscles.
The other visible sign is when someone stands in a relaxed manner and instead of their hands dangling by the side of their legs they are more to the front of the midline.
My Dad used to get me to stand to attention - thumbs in line with the seam of your trousers. You can see in this picture that my Dad would not be too impressed but to me it just shouts 'tight psoas' .
Knee pain? Back pain? If your psoas muscles is tight it can effectively 'lock' the head of your femur into your hip socket so restricting movement. To compensate you lower back or knee will have to adapt and this can cause pain.
Finally your psoas muscle can cause what is called lordosis - that curve in the lower back shown on right of the picture. An overstretched or weak psoas can have the opposite effect and flatten out the natural curve of the lumbar or lower spine. It is possible for it to be both tight and overstretched which can pull the pelvis forward in front of your centre of gravity causing your back to curve and your head poke forward.
I hope you feel you know your psoas muscle a bit better now. If you think it needs some attention, having read this a Bowen treatment can address it and deliver some TLC.
If you are near to, or live in Portsmouth, contact me today.
I have on-going issue with sciatica. I’d been suffering with it for over two years and had 3 x epidurals in order to help cure the problem with varying results.
I didn’t really expect much to be honest and was skeptical about the results. In the past I’ve had physio and seen an osteopath and there was no respite offered here. I was wrong to think like this about having Bowen as this has been one of the few treatments that brought about a change.
I got excellent help from Sue, she offered me advice on what the problems is and where the problem lies and the treatment that I could expect, it’s all about the Psoas.