What Is the Psoas Muscle and How Does It Play a Role in Back Pain?

How Does Psoas Muscles Affect Your Back in Santa Monica, CA

Connecting the lumbar vertebrae to the femur, the psoas muscle is the main muscle in a group of muscles referred to as the hip flexors. Led by the 16-inch psoas muscle, these muscles pull the thigh and torso during activities like walking, biking and exercising. Since the psoas muscle is connected to the lower back, it can also play a role in back pain. Learn more from experienced Beverly Hills spine surgeons.

The Psoas Muscle and Back Pain

As one of the major muscles in the body, the psoas muscle is understandably linked to many common aches and pain within the hip area, including recurring lower back pain. Due to the location of this muscle, frequent use and occasional overuse during vigorous workouts or activities like competitive running can lead to muscle strain. Issues with the psoas muscle have been linked to:

• Sacroiliac pain
• Sciatica
• Disc problems
• Scoliosis
• Lower back pain
• Lumbar lordosis (excessive curvature of the lower portion of the spine)

Issues with Balance

If the psoas muscle becomes weak from injury or wear, it could affect balance. The lower portion of the psoas muscle brings the lumbar vertebrae forward and downward to create a natural pelvic tilt that makes movement easier. The psoas goes into the lower mid-spine around the 12th thoracic vertebrae. Consequently, the psoas muscle could place added pressure on this portion of the spine, resulting in back pain.

Psoas Muscle Damage

When the psoas muscle is either deformed or damaged, referred pain is often felt vertically along the middle or lower portion of the spinal column. Cascading pain may also be felt along the front of the thigh. The muscle may also pull the spine to the left or right, sometimes resulting in painful misalignment. The psoas muscle may become damaged, stretched, or deformed from:

• Over-exertion while exercising or working out
• Poor posture that places too much pressure on the muscle
• Lack of exercise or sitting too much during the day

Diagnosis of a problem with the psoas muscle often involves image testing once other possible causes of back pain have been ruled out. Physical therapy and pain medications often help relieve back pain related to the psoas muscle.

If you or someone you know is experiencing chronic low back pain, it may be beneficial to meet with an orthopedic specialist who can discuss non-surgical procedures as well as motion-preserving spine treatments that can bring relief. For more information, call (310) 828-7757 and request an in-person consultation at The Spine Institute Center.