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Iliacus Release: Master This Muscle Through Deep Tissue Massage

The Iliacus muscle is a relatively short, gnarly hip flexor muscle on the front of the body. Iliacus release can be incredibly beneficial when added to a well rounded back pain relief program. Read on to learn about the Iliacus muscle, Iliacus pain, and how to release this muscle for relief.

Iliacus Muscle Release

Iliacus Muscle

Iliacus Release Anatomy

The Iliacus muscle is one of two hip flexor muscles that attach to the top of the femur (Psoas is the other). Iliacus is the outermost muscle, connecting from the inside top of the pelvis to the top of the femur. These connections allow the Iliacus muscle to powerfully lift the knee to the chest in hip flexion.

Iliacus release can provide huge relief after prolonged sitting, since the nature of sitting drastically shortens the Iliacus muscle. When Iliacus gets extremely short, tight, and develops trigger points - a painful, predictable pattern of muscle pain can manifest in the body.

Iliacus Release Muscle Pain

Iliacus muscle pain can be extremely painful and limiting. In my opinion, Iliacus-induced pain, especially lower back pain, is incredibly common in today's age. The human body was not built to sit in a chair for 8, 10, 14 hours a day, and our muscles definitely weren't built to withstand it. Sitting in chairs wreaks havoc on the Iliacus muscle through shortening and developing extreme tightness in the front of the body. 

The image below illustrates the pain pattern caused by trigger points and tightness in the Iliacus muscle, as depicted by Travell & Simons [1]. The bright red areas display where pain from Iliacus tightness is likely to occur - in the upper thigh and lower back. If you feel a similar pain pattern, Iliacus release should undoubtedly be on your list of rehab activities.

iliacus pain release

Iliacus Referred Pain Pattern [1]

Iliacus Release - How To

Iliacus release can be done by the hands of a trained physical or massage therapist, or at home with a nifty Iliacus Release Tool like QL Claw. QL Claw is great for this because not only does it release the Iliacus muscle, but it also releases the 4 other main muscles that contribute to lower back pain. With QL Claw, there is no easier way to perform Iliacus release on your own time. Learn more at the link and video tutorial below:

Iliacus Release - QL Claw





[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.

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