So what if I told you by massaging the front of the body can be one of the most effective ways to relieve back pain?
Let me introduce the psoas muscle or the iliopsoas. Attaching onto the 12th thoracic vertebrae and all of the lumbar, the psoas travels through the pelvis attaching onto the femur bone making it the only muscle in the body to attach our trunk to our legs. It stabilises the back to sit up right, assists in walking or running and allows the trunk to bend over. Fascial connections directly to the diaphragm, having a tight psoas can cause changes to the way that we breath.
We live in a world where we are sat down a lot of the time, whether at a desk, watching a film or driving a car. Prolonged periods of sitting down causes the psoas to shorten, become tight and this could result in back pain.
How do we maintain a healthy psoas? Ensure to move your body, if sat down for a long time get up and move. And when sitting raise your sit bones by placing a cushion so hips are higher than your knees. This releases the psoas due to the hamstrings being lengthened when the pelvis tilts. As we learnt to walk the movement of the psoas became unconscious and natural we don’t even think about it. Practising yoga can bring you conscious of this muscle through certain poses.
Directly linked to our emotional body, we hold onto stress in our tissues and especially our hips. Lowering our stress levels can help the psoas be more free and agile.
And of course massage! The psoas can only be massaged when lying on our back or side body. There are certain deep tissue and myofascial techniques that can work to release the psoas muscle.
Look after your psoas and it will no doubt look after you.