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Sitting, Psoas, Piriformis Muscles and Back Pain

The psoas is a culprit that could be the cause of your back pain. Especially as so many people are spending more hours sitting, working from home, in less than ideal seated positions, often from dining room tables and chairs. Or even worse, the sofa.

There are a few key elements to consider here. The psoas muscle is short and weak, in addition to mobilising and stretching this muscle, strengthening this muscle as well as your deep core stabilisation (Transverse Abdominus) and gluteal muscles is essential.

It is also important to look at the cause. Do you need to get a standing desk or vary your sitting position, or potentially get up more regularly from your desk. It seems so simple when we look at these basic adjustments but it is so easy to forget. It is great to set a timer to remind you to get up every 20 minutes to have a walk around or take a mini break from sitting.

I often use the foam roller or accupressure ball to release tight piriformis and psoas. I find this gives better long term results than passively stretching the muscles alone. Couple that with the correct exercises and neurological reprogramming and voila, recipe to eliminate pain.

If you have tried manual release therapies, pilates and yoga but don't seem to get results you need to look at aligning the neurology to support these programs.

Most of the manual therapies works from the outside in, Kinesiology works from the inside out - so if this sounds like you - and you have tried everything but to no avail you need to look at the neurology itself to reset the system for long term results.

If the brain is running a neurological pattern that keeps telling the muscle to fire or contract (and with psoas this is very possible as this is one of our fight or flight muscles) then the neurological pattern itself needs to be resolved in order to achieve results.

This is where kinesiology comes in.

So the key elements here are:

  1. Identify Habits and Posture keeping you stuck in pain

  2. Release and Mobilise tight muscles

  3. Retrain the balance in the body through Pilates and Neural retraining techniques

  4. If you have tried 1,2 and 3 and have not had great results it is time to look at retraining the neurology first through kinesiology and identifying the neurological pathways keeping you stuck in pain.

In my wellness studio I use a combination of all of the above and achieve incredible results with my clients ranging from back and hip to shoulder to knee pain.

If you would like to find out more on how to eliminate back pain using proven methods and techniques click below.

Here is some of my favourite tools I use to release a tight psoas and piriformis. A foam roller and acupressure ball are amazing tools to massage tight muscles. Couple some Arnica balm with this, and the correct exercises for best results.

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Here is a small excerpt from an article with some more information about the Psoas Muscle.

The psoas muscle (which is sometimes referred to as the Iliopsoas) is a large muscle that connects the upper back and the inner thigh. Though it might be difficult to imagine how a muscle could make this connection, the psoas is an extremely important muscle. It help to stabilize and torso as well as rotate the hips.

This muscle helps you sit up from lying down, stand up from sitting down, and it helps you walk. The psoas is very important in our day-to-day life. But sometimes lack of activity and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a contracted or tense psoas muscle. This may cause lower back pain and stiffness or lack of mobility in the lower back or hip area. Over time you may hold your body in an unnatural way either due to poor posture, injury, or just having a job that requires you sitting all day. This causes the psoas to develop a "memory" to hold itself in a contracted or stiff state.

You may have a contracted psoas muscle as well if your back is generally out of alignment. Misalignment of the psoas muscle can cause your back to lean more to one side of the other. This can result in bulging discs, sciatica, or other types of back pain. Since your psoas controls so many different movements from sitting up, standing up, and walking, it is likely that you may have difficulties or pain with these movements as well. Understand that the pain you're feeling is the direct result of a muscle imbalance in your psoas. Specifically, the psoas is contracted and throwing other parts of your back and hips out of alignment.

There are really two things you can do to relieve the pain. The first is to correct any lifestyle problems that may be causing the stiffness in your psoas muscle. Maybe you need to stand up ever now and then during the day instead of sitting for hours on end, or maybe you need to practice improving your posture. Secondly, to loosen up the psoas muscle you will need to develop the daily habit of stretching out the psoas muscle. If you do this consistently, you can start to relax and loosen the muscle tension.

Stretching exercises that target your psoas muscle will help you open and release the tension in this muscle. Stretching your psoas may be difficult at first if you are not particularly flexible. Don't feel bad, if your psoas is contracted and stiff, many other muscles in your body are probably stiff as well.

One muscle in particular that you may need to stretch in addition to the psoas is the piriformis muscle, which helps to rotate your legs. Often times a tense psoas and a tense piriformis muscle will come hand in hand.

Keep stretching daily and over time, your psoas and other muscles in your body will gain flexibility and the pain you are experiencing will slowly go away as your psoas opens up.

I am an affiliate for the products recommended in this blog. They are fantastic products that have been tried and tested. I do receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

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