Back Pain and Psoas

A few days ago, my friend and business partner Laura shared with me that lately she had been suffering daily and acutely from lower back pain. She had complained to me before (actually for quite a few years now), blaming her uncomfortable bed for it. I had never really doubted that it could be her bed, as she was pretty sure about it! But, this time, it was different as she got herself a new bed recently… So after asking a couple of questions, and knowing that she sits working at her computer for long hours, it occurred to me that it could be a psoas major issue.

I showed her a couple of simple exercises she can do along the day to stretch the groins, and therefore give a break to the hyper stretched lower back. No need to practice a full sequencing of yoga postures to get to the core of the problem, and alleviate the pain. Basically, holding a Low Lunge down on the knee – with hands on knee for support – for a few deep breaths on each side will do the trick.

Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

Wait a minute!… What the heck is the psoas – you’re probably asking yourself?!

Well, the psoas is a fundamental strong muscle, that connects and gives mobility of the torso and legs through the hip and pelvic area. It originates superficially at Thoracic Vertebrae T-12 with the deepest part attaching at Lumbar L-5.  It then runs down laterally on each frontal sides of the spine. Joined with the iliacus, it forms the iliopsoas and ends at the lesser trochanter of the femur bone. Therefore it is responsible for the bending and raising of the trunk, contributing as well to the flexion and external rotation of the hip joint, and being the essential connector between upper and lower body. The very last part of it is what we better know as the groin.

Now that we’ve set the crime scene, you’ll perfectly understand that sitting long hours on a chair, pulls on the first part of the psoas – and therefore compressing the lower back vertebrae – causing the pain suffered by so many people working at desks all day.

Do you suffer from lower back pain? Assess your own situation, and if you relate to this posting description, it might be a good idea to do a few lunges everyday and see if it affects positively your pain.

Be painfree, be well.

For more detailed info:

Psoas activation

Psoas activation