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It’s All In The Hips | Psoas Stretch
Do you have a weak lower back? Many believe their lower back is weak and therefore causing them pain. More common in fact is that there is an imbalance of the musculature surrounding the trunk, including the lower back but also the abdominals and the big muscles of the glutes and hip flexors. Some muscles are likely to be weak whilst others can be overly tight and both can cause lower back pain. There is also an associated poor use of the hip joints in many instances of lower back pain.
It is sometimes difficult to determine whether it is weak or tight muscles that are the root cause of pain, which is where coming in for a remedial massage might be able to help.
The hip joint | Psoas Stretch
As already mentioned, many sufferers of lower back pain often use their hip joints poorly. Taking the movement of standing to sitting as an example, those with weaker hip flexors will tend to fold at the waist, rounding out the lower back as if keeping their bottom tucked under when they start to bend towards a chair. This movement pattern puts tremendous strain on the lower back. Conversely, those with overly tight hip flexors will most likely arch their lower back excessively as they go to sit, a habitual movement pattern which also puts strain on the lower back.
Regaining awareness and muscular balance in the important hip and glute muscles and refining the use of the body through movement (posture) can be achieved in part with remedial massage or myotherapy, corrective stretching, specific strength training, developing more accurate body awareness and so on. Coming in for a massage is a good first step as by decreasing tension in the tightest muscles, the weaker muscles are more easily able to work. Your remedial massage therapist may also prescribe some simple stretch and strength exercises to get you on the road to recovery.
The stretch below is ideal for those with tight hip flexors and an anterior pelvic tilt, or those who would identify as having an increased arch in their lower back:
Stretches for tight hips
This psoas stretch is ideal for those with an anterior pelvic tilt or an overly arched lower back. It works well with stretches for the quadriceps.
Stand alongside a wall or something to hang on to if required for balance.
Step the outside leg back until you can feel a slight stretch across the front of the hip.
Activate your abdominals to ensure there is no arching in the lower back.
You can also squeeze the glute on the back leg and think of opening the front of the hip joint in order to target the deep hip flexor muscles.
Hold for 30 seconds.
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