Many of you know that every muscle has an opposing muscle that does the exact opposite. The iliopsoas (pronounced ill-ee-oh-so-as) is your glute’s opposing muscle. Technically, it is a few muscles, the psoas and the iliacus, but you pretty much can never use one without using the other, so they really work as a unit. It starts at your bottom vertebrae, follows along the inside of your pelvis, and attaches onto your femur. It’s posture stabilizer and assists in hip flexion.
Getting your iliopsoas massaged usually hurts. It’s a super deep muscle, which means that a lot of pressure usually needs to be used as well as the fact that it’s not exactly touched. While looking at medscape.com, which is a great resource for a lot of knowledge and tips, this quote came up:
“Hip and pelvis injuries represent 2-5%of all sports injuries. Among these injuries, groin pain is the most common finding. The most common sports-related injuries in the hip, pelvis, and thigh area are musculotendinous, (eg, quadriceps strain, adductor tendinitis) and, less commonly, iliopsoas tendinitis.”
It seems as though 2-5% is a small number, but I do think that hip injuries are often the most debilitating, as it makes walking, sitting, lying down, and many more basic activities gruesome tasks.
The iliopsoas is not limited to athletic injuries. A rather wide array of symptoms can correlate with some kind of dysfunction with this muscle group, including:
- Lower back pain
- Hip pain
- Snapping, crackling, or popping in the hip tendons
- Lower abdominal pain
- Inguinal or groin pain
- many more….
These kind of issues can be caused by any number of actions. Over stretching, poor core strength, repetitive motion, excessive lower back curve, or simply ignoring it.
Taking good care of your psoas will help prevent so many of the issues I mentioned. Stretching is always a great option for keeping any muscle healthy, whether you are an athlete or not. Please, please, please note that doing any of these stretches incorrectly can hurt you more than not doing them, so make sure you check with your massage therapist or a personal trainer or yoga instructor to ensure that you’re doing it correctly. Massage can greatly help any of the above symptoms as well. It can help squeeze out any unnecessary lactic acid and help it move more freely. A massage therapist usually can also tell you if further attention to a specific aspect is needed.
I will tell you this: psoas work is not for everyone. While it can help many people in many instances, stretching it may be what you need for it, at least before you should get it massaged. That is only because your massage therapist does not want you to sign up for an hour or so of torture, unless you are a good candidate for experiencing relief from good psoas work. Ask your massage therapist if it is something you think will help your issues.