When health experts talk about which muscles in your body are important for optimal health, you usually hear them list the glutes, hamstrings, and abdominals. But rarely is the psoas muscle (pronounced "so-as") mentioned as much as it needs to be.
The psoas is a very large muscle that connects the top half of your body to the bottom. If you didn't have this muscle, well, you'd probably be separated in half. It originates from your 12th thoracic vertebra to your fourth lumbar vertebra and inserts on the inside of your femur.
The psoas flexes your legs up which is needed for walking, running, climbing stairs, dancing, and anything that involves the coordination of your torso and legs.
This muscle is essential for correct posture as it affects the stability of your spine. If there is any type of dysfunction, whether it be from a weak or tight psoas, it can cause the surrounding muscles to overcompensate and become fatigued. This explains why a tight psoas muscle could be the cause of your low back or pelvic pain.
The movements that aggravate your psoas include:
1. Sitting for an extended period.
2. Standing and twisting from your torso without moving your feet.
3. Performing too many sit-ups without an equal amount of back extensions.
4. That's right, your psoas is used to help you finish that last half rep of a sit-up.
Many healthcare professionals don't seem to understand the importance of the psoas and sometimes give their patients the wrong diagnoses and treatments for a condition that has nothing to do with their original problem.
The problem many people face is their psoas is either too tight or too weak on one side. To determine this, you need to find a skilled healthcare practitioner that knows exactly how to test it and determine what to do to make each psoas symmetrical.