The Psoas Muscle And Lumbar Balance
The psoas muscle is a very important muscle in the structure of our lumbar spine and back. He is one of the great culprits of the curvatures that our column has. This muscle is born in the lumbar vertebrae and passes in front of the pelvis to go to the upper part of the thigh bone (the femur).
If we touch the lower back with our hand when we are seated we can notice that it has a flattened shape. If we continue with the hand there and we stand, we verify that the lumbar vertebrae go inwards forming a concave curve. The main explanation for this is in the psoas muscle. If you look at the photos of the post we can understand that by stretching the leg back (what doctors call hip extension) we are pulling the psoas muscle, and as it is anchored to the lumbar area because this curvature will occur.
Returning to the photos, we can see that the muscle will be in maximum relaxation when we are squatting (with a very flexed hip) and will become tense when standing (with the hip in extension).
What is the function of this muscle? When the muscle contracts, it throws the leg forward. This is their main function, which allows us to walk and run. It is a very powerful muscle and at birth in the lumbar region makes it an important muscle for back health. Understanding the function of this muscle gives us many clues on how to care for the back.
From the practical point of view, what are important concepts of this muscle for the health of my back?
1º – Stretches of the psoas for a correct balance lumbar. For a balanced function of the lumbar spine it is important to work the elasticity of this muscle. If the muscle is shortened, when we are standing it pulls excessively from the lumbar spine and the curvature (which we call lumbar hyperlordosis) is greatly accentuated. This may even make us look as if we have more belly than we deserve. Sometimes this can be harmful. The psoas is the great forgotten when doing stretches either when playing sports or in a treatment. In general it is advisable to incorporate into our exercise habit the regular stretching of this muscle. It should not be an isolated treatment, but should be part of the recommended guidelines for recovery and prevention of low back pain.
2º – Postures adequate to avoid injuries. The characteristics of the psoas muscle force us to avoid certain postures when we exercise or even when we sleep in bed.
– In general, when performing an exercise that requires lying down, such as doing sit-ups, we should have our legs flexed. That is, avoid lying on your back with your legs straight while performing the exercise. If you do not pick up your legs slightly, flexing the hip joint, there will be excessive strain on your lower back during exercise.
– While we sleep we are always advised not to sleep on our stomachs to avoid low back pain. Well, the explanation is again the excessive tension that puts the psoas muscle in the back as the hip is stretched without being able to flex. If we want to continue upside down we can correct the position by raising one knee while we turn slightly to the side. In another post we will talk extensively about the postures in the bed and its repercussions.
After this long explanation, it is important that you incorporate the stretching of the psoas into your exercise routines. Also keep it in mind to understand many of the things that happen in our back and that will travel with this blog.
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