|Psoas Major (gif: Physiopedia)|
This muscle has been coming up a lot lately. Psoas can contribute to back pain that is worse with flexion of the torso (bending at the waist), or more minutely, arching of the lumbar spine. It can also contribute to disc pain, hip pain, sciatic pain, leg length discrepancy, and instability.
|deep muscles of the lower back|
The psoas attaches at the anteriolateral surfaces of T12, L1-L4 vertebrae spilling down the posterior abdominal wall, over the anterior brim of the pelvis to the lesser trochanter of the femur - a common attachment site with illiacus, hence the grouping iliopsoas. Psoas is one of only three muscles that attaches the spine to the leg (gluteus maximus and piriformis are the other two).
Helping to release this muscle in its tightened, shortened state requires great focus on the table. Utilizing deep breathing techniques, as the client is supine (laying on the back), I will start to apply pressure in the abdomen between the belly button and the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS). With each exhalation a gentle move deeper, pushing aside the abdominal contents to get closer to the spine and the belly of the psoas muscles.
Stretching this muscle when you are in pain can be tricky. The easiest way is by laying on the back and bringing one knee toward the torso -this is activating the muscle. Trying not to push beyond, into resistance, allow the lower back to melt into the floor and for the femur to feel loose, free.
If this psoas/low back is not in a lot of pain here are some yoga poses I recommend: virabhadrasana I or setu bandha sarvangasana.