The psoas (pronounced SO-as) muscle, also known as the “hip flexor,” is a muscle located in the front of the hip. It is one of the most important muscles in the body because it plays a vital role in several crucial functions.
One of the main functions of the psoas is to support the spine. It attaches to the lower spine and helps to keep the spine stable and aligned. This is especially important when we are standing, walking, or running, as the psoas helps to maintain proper posture and prevent back pain.
In addition to supporting the spine, the psoas also plays a key role in movement. It is responsible for flexing the hip joint, which allows us to lift our legs and move them forward when we walk, run, or climb stairs. The psoas is also involved in lateral movements, such as when we step to the side or do a side lunge.
Another important function of the psoas is its role in the “fight or flight” response. The psoas is part of the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for activating the body’s response to stress and danger. When we are threatened, the psoas contracts, helping to prepare the body for action.
Overall, the psoas is a vital muscle that plays a key role in supporting the spine, enabling movement, and helping the body respond to stress. It is an important muscle to keep strong and healthy, as it can have a major impact on our overall physical well-being.
9 ways to tell if you have a psoas muscle imbalance
- Chronic low back pain: The psoas muscle plays a key role in supporting the spine, so a muscle imbalance in the psoas can lead to chronic low back pain.
- Hip pain: The psoas muscle is located in the front of the hip, so a muscle imbalance in the psoas can cause pain in the hip area.
- Difficulty standing up straight: The psoas muscle helps to maintain proper posture, so a muscle imbalance in the psoas can make it difficult to stand up straight.
- Difficulty walking or running: The psoas muscle is involved in movement of the leg, so a muscle imbalance in the psoas can make it difficult to walk or run smoothly.
- One-sided muscle soreness: If you experience muscle soreness or discomfort on one side of your body, it could be due to a muscle imbalance in the psoas.
- Impaired sports performance: If you notice a decline in your sports performance, it could be due to a muscle imbalance in the psoas.
- Poor balance: Poor balance can be a sign of a psoas muscle imbalance, particularly if you find that you tend to lean to one side when standing or walking.
- Difficulty maintaining proper form: If you have trouble maintaining proper form when exercising, it could be due to a muscle imbalance in the psoas.
- Pain when climbing stairs: The psoas muscle helps to flex the hip joint, which is important for climbing stairs. A muscle imbalance in the psoas can cause pain or discomfort when climbing stairs
9 Tips for Keeping Your Psoas Muscles Healthy
- Stretch your psoas muscle regularly: Stretching can help to improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension in the psoas.
- Incorporate psoas-strengthening exercises into your workout routine: Exercises such as leg raises, hip flexor stretches, and lunges can help to strengthen the psoas muscle.
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time: Prolonged sitting can lead to tightness in the psoas muscle, so try to stand up and move around regularly.
- Use proper form when exercising: Proper form can help to prevent strain on the psoas muscle and reduce the risk of injury.
- Avoid overtraining: Overdoing it with your workouts can lead to muscle strain and fatigue, so make sure to give your psoas muscle adequate rest between workouts.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help to keep your muscles healthy and prevent muscle cramps and strains.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet: A healthy diet can help to support muscle health and prevent muscle imbalances.
- Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep is important for muscle recovery and repair.
- Seek help from a healthcare professional if you are experiencing chronic muscle pain or discomfort: A healthcare professional can help to diagnose the cause of your muscle pain and recommend appropriate treatment.
One thing that many people may not know about the psoas muscle is that it is closely connected to our emotional and psychological well-being. The psoas muscle is connected to the diaphragm, which is involved in breathing and relaxation. When we are stressed or anxious, the psoas muscle can become tense, leading to physical discomfort and even pain. Conversely, when we are relaxed and calm, the psoas muscle can become more relaxed, leading to a sense of physical and emotional well-being. Some studies have even suggested that massaging or stretching the psoas muscle can help to reduce stress and improve overall well-being.