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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Workout Wednesday, Bloggers Back Pain

Stretch! Psoas not to Hurt!

(I know, really cute play on words.)  In last weeks "Workout Wednesday", I discussed the psoas (pronounced "so as") muscles and their importance in our core strength.  There is so much more to these guys than I can discuss today, yet most of us have no idea how common hip and back pain are associated with tight or unused psoas muscles.  Why?  Because we sit so darn much!

Without boring you to tears, the lower section of the psoas is the hip floexors.  When the hip flexors are flexed a lot of the time, they will shorten up, resulting in a tight psoas.

Where the psoas attaches to the hip is the "hip flexors".  (Diagram courtesy of StrongLifts.)
In my class last night, Nancy, my trusted sub-instructor, a Physical Therapist, had this to say:  "The psoas is like a pair of suspenders that run from our pelvis up to our lumbar spine."   Well, these suspenders begin to think they should stay shortened and contracted after prolonged sitting.  When they get tight, so does our QL (quadratus lumorum), a muscle in our low back region, and our illiocus, internal hip muscles.   And, let us not forget our sciatica, as it too can be negatively affected by all this tightening!

OK, so, what do you do about it?  Stretch, stretch, stretch!  And here's how:

Begin in this position.  Think: Lengthening from the front hip up through spine.
Tuck pelvis enough to feel the front of the hip (my right).

If you require more, elevate arms overhead and reach from your hips and spine, not your arms.
Tuck your tailbone a bit more.

And if you can handle a bit more, lean back from the low spine, pull up and back, not arching from the low back.

The stretch can be performed while standing.   So, there is no excuse NOT to do them!

I am proposing that you do these stretches every half hour you are seated.  Just try it!  Let me know how it feels.


  1. Debra,

    After blogging every single day of January, I need to stretch out my hips, big time! I will spend some time today trying these stretches...and my hamstrings, which bother me, too.

    Thank you for the great photos...that helps so much!


  2. Heard a couple little pops -- which is a good thing! The stretch felt wonderful. Great advice, and I will continue to do it!

  3. To all three of you: Awesome! You are well on your way to a long life of blogging pain free!

  4. What can I say, this is the best find for me in years. Thanks for the inviting, warm and friendly atmosphere!I have awaken muscles that i haven't used in for far to long.I LOVE IT!!!
    Deb you are a jewel and definitely just what I needed!
    OXOXOX, Laura

  5. Debra - wonderful exercise. People have no idea how important stretching is for mobility.

    I do the leg press at the gym with my feet in a wide dance position two which really stretches that area. The fact that I probably look like an overfed frog trying to crank out a really big hop does not deter me one tiny bit. :-)