You may or may not be an active person, it still affects you, young as well as old people.
These muscles need to be in good condition, otherwise you may suffer a number of common health problems. They are a direct link between your upper body and your legs and are at the centre of your body’s movement. They are very important in a number of ways and they are involved in most activities of daily living - when you sit down doing very little as well as when you do exercise or hard physical work.
It has a lot to do with posture and it is a big player in stabilising the spine and the hips. It is also involved when bending the hip to bring the knee forwards or towards the chest.
The hip flexors consist of the iliopsoas (psoas major and psoas minor)
and the iliacus. The psoas attach to the vertebrae of the lower spine and the thighbone (femur) close to the groin at the other end.
Weak, overused or short:
An all too familiar problem is sitting. Many people sit most of the day and we all know this is not good for us. Even many athletes and people doing regular exercise sit too much. Sitting cause weakness, shortening and may develop into tightness in the psoas muscle, affecting posture, causing pain and even contribute to stress, tension and poor sleep.
Excessive walking, running or too many sit-ups can also negatively affect this muscle.
A tight/short psoas muscle can cause the lower back to arch and thereby pushing the belly forwards. A big belly is not necessarily due to weak abdominal muscles. A strong psoas can significantly affect your appearance. A tight psoas cause misalignment of your spine and your pelvis, often being one of the main reasons for back problems such as herniated discs. This muscle can also affect blood flow and nerve signals through your back, pelvis and hips. It is closely linked to the central nervous system.
So by now we have established that this is a very important muscle in many respects. Fortunately it is possible to do something about a problematic psoas. However it is important that you seek professional help to find out whether the psoas is tight and needs releasing through treatment and stretching, or if it is weak and needs strengthening. Stretching a weak psoas may cause more symptoms than it cures.
Common symptoms caused by a problematic psoas muscle:
• Back pain
• Pain in the buttock
• Groin pain
• Leg pain
• Leg length difference
• Poor posture with increased arch in the lower back
• Pain in the genital area
• Stomach and intestine issues
• Poor sleep
• Affected breathing pattern
• General tiredness
• ‘Bulging Belly’
A few clues:
✓ Don’t sit too much or for long periods
✓ Sit correctly, support your back
✓ Exercise correctly and to a level that suits you
✓ Stretches (dynamic stretching often gives better results)
✓ Professional treatment
✓ Reduce stress
Many years of practicing and instructing Active Release Techniques have given us the ability to treat these muscles very specifically. Sometimes home exercises is not enough to solve the issues you may have, so it is very important to have your body assessed thoroughly first. Based on the findings we can recommend a treatment plan and give you advice on what you can do yourself.