Chronic low back pain is one of the most common complaints from massage clients.
Since so many of us sit for many hours on the computer, watching television or at work, it is all too common to experience pain and tightness in the low back region. Sitting for long periods of time constricts the psoas muscle. This not only leads to low back pain, it depletes vital energy, cuts off blood circulation, affects organ functioning and drains the adrenals and immune system. Psoas health affects every level of your well being.
Let’s learn more about how your psoas functions and its relationship to low back pain and your overall wellbeing!
The psoas muscle is the deepest muscle in your body. Its health holds much of your physical, mental and emotional well being. A supple and healthy psoas will allow blood, oxygen and nutrients to flow freely through your body. A constricted psoas will lead to low back pain, tight hips and deplete your immunity and parasympathetic nervous system.
Because of its location deep in your hips, the psoas is the hardest muscle to stretch and strengthen.
We can experience amazing benefits when we continuously work the psoas in our physical body, but the mental benefits are just as rewarding.
The psoas major is located from the middle of the spine (T12) to the top of the thigh bone. It attaches from the very bottom of the rib cage, and continues down your body, through the core, and attaches to the very top of the thigh bone. The psoas is the only muscle that connects the spine to the legs.
If you sit all day, your psoas muscle can get extremely tight, as if you have been bending at the waist all day.
In addition to locking up in the front of your hips, your Quadratus Lumborum (QL) will lock up and restrict blood flow as well. Your QL is the deepest muscle in your abdominal/core area. It’s located in your lower back on either side of the lumbar spine. It starts at your lowest rib and ends at the top of your pelvis.
The psoas and QL are the biggest culprits when dealing with low back pain and can feel as if they are playing tug of war with your low back.
Sitting for prolonged periods of time will overuse the stabilizer muscles of the vertebrae, which in turn will make them tighten and constrict blood and nutrient flow. When these muscles are no longer effective in aiding in support of the spine and lower back, then the QL takes up the slack and overworks, forming painful knots and adhesions.
Relieve your lower back pain with myofascial release, deep tissue massage and a quality at-home routine!
There are a few modalities that are best in creating relief for chronic low back pain. Finding a therapist who is trained in advanced myofascial techniques is extremely helpful, as well as a therapist who is trained in Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy. These two modalities can do wonders at releasing the psoas and quadratus lumbar muscles.
There are many stretches and yoga postures which can provide relief and aid in the prevention of future injury and discomfort.
All lunges that stretch the hip flexor area will help open and release the psoas: runners lunge, low crescent lunge, high lunge, bound lunge, the list goes on…
Triangle pose is great pain-relieving stretch for both the QL and psoas. Always, feel free to ask your therapist for more stretches to help with reducing your low back pain. We highly recommend teaming with both a massage therapist and personal trainer or yoga teacher that can assist in ensuring that you are accessing movement that will relieve low back pain and prevent restriction of your psoas and QL muscles.
In addition, take a look at your work station if you are a seated professional.
Check to see that your computer is in line with your eyes so that aren’t looking down. Also, make sure that your chair allows your feet to plant firmly on the ground and your low back is supported by your abdominal muscles and not slouching.