Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Psoas; Wicked Little Muscle!

Don't even try reading the tiny words!


Okay, maybe "little" isn't the right word. "Wicked" on the other hand...

 The psoas (so-az) is a muscle that contains many mysteries. But this muscle plays a serious role in movement and stabilization. The name psoas represents two muscles, psoas major and psoas minor. Psoas minor is present in only 40-50% of the human population. What! That's a pretty wild fact. I haven't come across anything that indicates if this is gender specific occurrence.

What I have come across though, in reading articles and surfing the mighty web, is that the psoas is often ground zero for lower back pain, hip pain, all kinds of pain! This I know from personal experience. That's why I'm so darned fascinated and interested in this muscle. Human anatomy is pretty interesting anyway, but in this case, a necessity. To understand how to retrain and reshape a muscle, joint, what have you group, you've gotta know a little about how it works.

My knowledge is limited at best. I'm hoping to change that bit by bit.

I came across this website; Learn About Psoas Muscle Pain & Psoas Release Techniques by Barry Krost.

There is a wealth of knowledge on the site as well as many links. Geek out at will!

Here's some quick and dirty about "Our Friend The Psoas".

The psoas primarily flexes the hip and the spinal column. Think lifting your knee for hip flexion and rounding your back for spinal flexion.

Because it is a flexor for the hips and thighs it is a major muscle for walking.

The psoas is part of a group of muscles that effect the hips and back.

The psoas is part of spine twisting and moving the pelvis in all sorts of ways.

The body of each psoas (it's on both sides of the body) contains, on average 11 branches of muscle fibers. Each of those branches has a connection. That's a total of 22 connections! One on each thigh, on the femur, and 10 along the spine. The highest is at the lowest thoracic vertebra and the rest along the lumbar vertebra. Compress much?

The psoas has two layers of muscle, superficial and deep. Embedded between those layers is a bundle of nerves that communicate with everything in the region; hips, thighs, abs, pelvic floor.

There is also the whole emotional element to the psoas. It is really one of the main muscles in a "flight or fight" situation to react. There is evidence that some traumas may get stored in the psoas, causing it to stay tight and reactive. I'd like to touch upon that in coming posts. I know for myself that whenever I get a massage I find it nearly impossible to be worked on in that area. No matter how comfortable and relaxed I am, I will cringe, stiffen and get a horrible "tickle" response.

So many opportunities for something to go seriously wonky! To make matters worse, excessive sitting is a major shortener of the psoas, thus making everything TIGHT!

I plan to learn more and more about the psoas. And how I can learn to move better, more efficiently and hopefully pain-free! I hope to share as much as possible for your journey as well.

I've ordered some books that I saw mentioned on the website I put a link for above.

The Psoas Book by Liz Koch.
Psoas Release Party! by Johnathan FitzGordon.

Should be for some interesting reading.

Thanks for reading!

Enjoy the dance that is life!

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