Could my psoas muscle be causing low back pain?

The psoas muscles are important for your maintaining your upright posture and helps to stabilise your spine whilst sitting and walking. They also have an impact on your breathing when experiencing stress, in the fight or flight response.

The psoas muscles are long thick strap-like deep hip flexor muscles that run down the inside of our body, on both sides of the spine, attaching to the diaphragm, the lumbar spine and pelvis, and then connection to our femurs (upper leg bones).

The psoas muscles are important for your maintaining your upright posture and help to stabilise your spine whilst sitting and walking. They also have an impact on your breathing when you are in a stressed state, during the fight or flight response.

In my practice as a chiropractor, it is not unusual to find that people who sit for long periods of time have very tight and/or weak psoas muscles, and I would say that 99% of my lower back patients have this problem too.

Do you have tight psoas muscles?

Tension and tightness in the psoas muscles not only contributes to poor movement patterns, but this muscle tension is also linked to a spectrum of lower back complications, ranging from:

  • Spinal disc herniation

  • Hip & knee complications

  • Ankle & foot complications

  • Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

This tightness can not only affect your mobility, but also the entire kinematic chain related to weight bearing and overall muscle health.

Psoas syndrome

There’s a condition called “Psoas Syndrome,” also known as Jumper’s or Dancer’s Hip, iliopsoas tendinitis, internal snapping hip, or iliopsoas impingement. It’s rare, but more common in females and athletes who do energetic activities like jumping or running, or pylometric exercises.

If the muscle is injured, it can cause back pain. It’s also observed in people over 60 who’ve had hip surgery.

 

Symptoms of Psoas Syndrome

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain in the lower back area when sitting or changing e.g. standing up from a chair
  • Pain in the buttocks
  • Pain travelling down the leg
  • Pain in the groin
  • Pain in the pelvis
  • Limping or shuffling when walking

You don’t need to have Psoas Syndrome for your psoas muscles to be tight, weak, or overstretched. Chiropractors always consider other musculoskeletal conditions. In my experience:

  • If you have a bulging or herniated lumbar disc or struggle to straighten up, your psoas muscles are likely tight.