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THE PSOAS STRETCH

Updated: Feb 2, 2022

Physical therapy helped a lot of people in terms of rehabilitative treatment, prevention, and even sports. Therapists were able to break the status quo that PT is only for rehab. And now, we’ll be introducing something that not a lot of people know- the Psoas muscle.

The problems with these muscles often play a role in your hip, groin, and low back pain. Anatomically speaking, there are two of them on each side of the body. Each of these long, thick muscles originates deep in the abdominal cavity, from the sides of vertebrae in the lower half of the spine, and runs down into the pelvis where it joins with another muscle (the iliacus) before attaching to the femur (thigh bone). Basically, the two psoas muscles connect the low back to the thighs.

The role of your psoas muscle

You are able to stand and walk upright in part because the curve of your lower spine both bears and transfers the weight above it. The psoas muscle helps to create this curve, as it pulls your lumbar vertebrae both forward and down. Aside from that, the psoas muscle is essential in helping you walk.

The Benefits of Stretching the Psoas Muscle


Patients with tight psoas muscles are a common problem especially for those who spend the majority of their time seated. The rationale behind this is when we sit, the psoas muscle shortens and becomes inactive. Regular stretching of the psoas muscle can decrease the risk of different injuries, stabilize the trunk, and also improve the patient’s posture. Aside from that, it can also help a patient move from a seated position to standing.


Stretching the psoas muscle can also help in reducing hip pain and increase hip mobility. For patients with lower back pain, having your psoas muscle treated with the appropriate stretches can help in managing the pain and prevent injury.


For athletes playing soccer, basketball, football, and running or having tight hamstrings and weak glute muscles can cause your psoas muscles to be tight. Tight or short psoas muscles can lead to serious conditions such as iliopsoas tendonitis, iliopsoas impingement, or iliopsoas syndrome, these conditions can be managed with the right management such as stretching.


Many physical therapists suggest so many stretching variations, here are some of the stretches that you can do. But as a reminder, a comprehensive evaluation will be done by your physical therapy before undergoing any treatment.


Glute Bridge


This stretching movement allows you to stretch your iliopsoas while also strengthening the glute muscles. This would require you to have a yoga mat on the floor.


How to:

  • Lie on your back with arms on the side, bend your knees and feet flat on the floor.

  • Engage your glutes and lift your hoops to create a bridge between your shoulders and knees.

  • Raise your hips until you feel a stretch in the psoas muscles in both legs. If there’s lower back pain, lower your hips slightly, keeping the glutes tight.

  • Hold the position for 20-30 seconds 10 times, as recommended by your Physical Therapist.

  • Lower your hips carefully to the floor and repeat the process.


Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch


For patients who don’t have a kneeling issue, this stretching exercise is for you. Use a mat for cushioning.


How to:

  • Get into a half-kneeling position with your right leg about 2 feet in front of the left leg. Make sure that the right knee forms a 90-degree angle.

  • Place your hands on the right knee, maintain an upright posture and lean slightly forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip, groin, and thigh of your left side.

  • Hold the position for 20-30 seconds 3 times but ease off when your feel any low back pain.

  • Slowly return to your starting position and change sides.


There are other Psoas muscle stretching exercises but it would always depend on your body’s need. Call or visit your Physical Therapist now to know more about these stretching exercises.


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