Chronic Pain Relief / Lower Body Pain / Iliopsoas / Psoas Release

The Iliopsoas and chronic pain of the lower back, hips, legs, feet and spine

Often times the main culprit in chronic pain of the lower body is overlooked, the iliopsoas. This muscle group, the literal and figurative core muscle of the body, has one of the largest roles in our body relating to mobility and posture effecting every muscle of the body either directly or indirectly through it’s relationship to the spine. Through our movements associated with walking, sitting, standing, and even laying down the iliopsoas can cause conditions that cannot be resolved if this muscle group is not treated properly and effectively. Some conditions resulting from the iliopsoas are chronic lower back pain, chronic hip pain, migraines, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, numbness and pain in the legs and feet, general discomfort and aching of the hips legs and feet, weakness and fatigue associate with walking or running, insomnia, anxiety, and in advanced stages of iliopsoas dysfunction an inability to walk upright or sit for extended periods of time can result.

What is the Iliopsoas?

The iliacus, psoas major and psoas minor, commonly referred to as “iliopsoas” or “psoas” and commonly referred to as the “hip-flexor” are a group of muscles that work together on both sides of the body found in the deep abdominal cavity effecting the lower back, hips, legs and spine. The Psoas originates at the spine, passing through the hips, and inserting at the head of the femur near the groin. When working properly these muscles are responsible for flexion at the hip (both raising your legs independently or bilaterally toward your torso or allowing you to move your torso toward your legs when sitting up). When improperly functioning, due to postural misalignment, loss of elasticity, and muscle shortness, the iliopsoas causes a plethora of conditions leading to chronic pain and discomfort. Iliopsoas dysfunction is often the cause for deep lower back aching, in conjunction with the Piriformis, Iliotibial Band (IT Band) and the Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL).

How is the Iliopsoas treated?

First, we need to understand how this muscle group works:
  The “hip flexor” is just that: the muscle which flexes the hip. Flexion of the hip occurs when you either lift your knee toward your torso when standing or sitting, or lift your torso toward your knees when laying down, the hip flexor is also active when sitting (in an isometric contraction) acting as a posture stabilizing muscle of the spine.

The latter mentioned is one of the most important and fundamental concepts we can understand when addressing issues of the spine because the Iliopsoas, as shown in the above image, is connected to the spine all the way from the Diaphragm through the hips to the leg. This muscle group is the single most important muscle in terms of posture and conditions resulting from postural dysfunction.


  The Psoas is stretched unilaterally, using specialized movements while stabilizing the hips using PNF stretching to safely create length without risk of strain on the tendons or muscle tissue. In addition, direct deep tissue massage is used in the pelvis and while working through the abdomen in order to reach the attachments of the anterior face of the spine at each vertebrae. While using direct pressure through trigger point therapy at each vertebrae and within the pelvis, you will be asked to do specific movements in order to pass the muscle fibers under the pressure of massage therapist causing a myofascial release. This technique minimizes discomfort making the treatment much more enjoyable and providing lasting results that are exceptional.

In addition to the above, all synergetic muscle groups will be addressed as well. From the lower back, hip, and buttocks region, to the extensors of the spine and head, and finally with the core stabilizing muscles and hip stabilizing muscles.

Often times treatment of the neck and upper torso including the chest and shoulders may be required as forward head posture is often directly associated to iliopsoas dysfunction as the head is naturally connected to the spine. To heal an issue in any part of the spine generally requires the entire spine to be addressed as it is all part of the same system.


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