Muscle Of Lower Back: The Psoas

The Psoas Muscles Are Important Players For A Healthy Back

The Psoas is the body’s main engine for walking. It’s one of two muscles that make up the Iliopsoas muscle (the other is the Iliacus—hey, I didn’t name them!). I usually tell people that the Psoas is on “the front of your back.”

Some Hip Flexors Attach To The Low Back

I say this because it attaches to the front lower half of your spine (in some people it not only attaches to the lower lumbar vertebrae, but also goes up to the lower thoracic vertebrae for all you anatomists out there), and then travels out of the front of your lower abdomen and attaches on the back half of the inner thigh.

The Iliacus muscle works along side the Psoas muscles, and attaches on the inside wall of the pelvis. It joins the Psoas and forms a common tendon. This is the one that attaches to the back half of the inner thigh.

The Psoas Muscles Connect To The Lumbar Vertebrae

Because the Psoas muscles attach to so many points along your spine and leg, it affects all of the vertebral joints, and thus all of your low back. So if something is wrong with your Psoas, something is wrong with your back.

The Psoas is one of only two muscles that connect the legs to the spine. The other is the Piriformis (more about that one later on). Even though there are fifty-seven muscles that attach to/on the pelvis, the Psoas—which doesn’t attach to the pelvis—is arguably more influential in regards to the pelvis than any of them.

While the Psoas is the main muscle for walking, it plays a deeper—maybe even more important—role as a flexor. The Psoas is the body’s main hip flexor. Hip flexion is when you bring your knee toward your chest. So, when we are in a sitting position, our hips are flexed because our knees are relatively closer to our chests.

When we are in a prolonged flexed position, the muscle tends to tighten. And, like we learned in our roller coaster trip, trying to straighten out a tight flexed muscle can be a painful process that takes some effort to achieve.

Regular Activity For Flexible Psoas Muscles And A Healthy Back

To stay flexible, the Psoas muscles needs a lot of forward and backward leg activity such as running or swimming, or even just periodic lunging exercises. Your Psoas will let you know that it is tight by making it difficult to stand up after sitting for a while. Or if you walk too long, you’ll get a pain across your lower back at your belt line.

Go here for more information about psoas stretching.