#1 Stretch for Low Back Pain

Figure A: The left arrow is pointing to the psoas major, without the psoas minor; while the right arrow is pointing to the psoas major, with the psoas minor still on top. 

Figure A: The left arrow is pointing to the psoas major, without the psoas minor; while the right arrow is pointing to the psoas major, with the psoas minor still on top. 

Chronic low back pain is a chronic problem in the United States and although there are many reasons for low back pain, a major contributor is a tight, weak psoas muscle. 

The Psoas Muscle (pronounced so-az) consists of 2 parts, the psoas major and psoas minor and they are located on both sides of the body. As seen in Figure A.

This muscle is a large culprit in many people with low back and hip pain, because it stays contracted/tightened most of the time. It is a deep seated core muscle. Every muscle has a unique action that it performs, the main action of this muscle is to flex the hip, like in a sitting position, it brings the hip towards the body. 

Tight/Weak Psoas is caused by: 

  1. Chronic Sitting- the majority of people are sitting down for over 10 hours a day, from commuting to work, watching TV, or using a computer
  2. Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles- especially seen in postpartum women who start exercising too soon after delivery
  3. Weak Abs & Glutes

Signs of Tight/Weak Psoas: 

  1. Difficulty standing up after prolonged sitting. People with a tight psoas often stand up with a hunched-over back due to the tension.
  2. Biking or running cause hip and groin pain and tightness.
  3. Uncomfortable at night unless you curl one or both legs up towards your chest.
  4. Chronic Constipation
  5. Bursitis or pain in hip joint
  6. Sway Back
  7. Sciatic Pain

How to Keep Your Psoas Happy:

  1. Perform this stretch daily on both sides of the body (you can even do it while watching T.V.)! 
  2. Take a few deep breathes and feel for a slight pulling in the front of the hip. 
  3. Below you will see Dr. Scott Heppe demonstrating 3 different versions of the psoas stretch.