Feeling Lower Back Pain? Move This Lesser-Known Muscle for Relief

April 05, 2020 by Well + Good

Have you ever been mid-movement—whether walking from point A to point B or trying your hardest to stay balanced in a Lagree elevator lunge—only to be stopped in your tracks by an unrelenting pinching sensation in your lower back? Well, folks, I have and let’s be clear, it’s painful AF. What’s not as obvious, however, is the fact that it might not be your back that’s the problem, but that your psoas muscle (pronounced so-as) is out of whack.

According to Mindbody wellness specialist Kate Ligler, your psoas originates at the mid-to-lower back and extends downwards towards the iliacus, which originates at the hip. The muscles connect at the femur, effectively connecting your torso to your legs; together, they make up the iliopsoas, which plays a key role in every activity that involves forward hip flexion. Think: walking, cycling, rowing, climbing, lunging, sitting, and on and on and on.

“These muscles work in tandem as the primary hip flexors and create harmony between our pelvis and spine in nearly all day-to-day movements,” Ligler explains. “Because we spend so much time with closed hips, or forwardly flexed, the muscles that specifically create this action—known as the iliopsoas—often become tightened, shortened, and eventually weak without regular attention.”

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