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Psoas Muscle Pain | Anatomy, Symptoms, & How To Find Relief

Psoas is a large hip flexor muscle on the front of the body that can cause a ton of low back pain when tight. Psoas muscle pain is extremely debilitating and can severely hinder your lifestyle. Read on to determine what the Psoas is, how to know if Psoas causes your pain, and most importantly how to relieve Psoas muscle pain.

Psoas Muscle Pain Relief


Psoas Muscle Pain Anatomy

Psoas Muscle Anatomy: 

The Psoas muscle is a very powerful hip flexor that connects the lumbar vertebrae to the top of the femur. Psoas runs right through the guts and helps attach the lower body to the upper body. Psoas muscle pain can have a plethora of symptoms (the most dominant symptom is lower back pain) and can highly diminish your quality of life.

Psoas is part of the Iliopsoas complex, which consists of the Psoas and Iliacus muscles. Both muscles are often referred to together because they have a nearly identical function, and they also tend to get tight and cause pain together as a unit [1].

Psoas Muscle Pain Anatomy

ÔĽŅPsoas Muscle

Psoas Muscle Function:

The Psoas muscle, like other hip flexors, functions in bringing the knee forward and closer to the chest. Any activity that brings one or both knees closer to the chest will engage the Psoas muscle(s), and potentially worsen Psoas muscle pain [1]. Movements such as marching, kicking, and doing sit-ups will activate and require use of the Psoas muscle.


Psoas Muscle Pain Symptoms

Most Common Psoas Muscle Pain:

Psoas muscle pain will typically manifest as stabbing, chronic-feeling low back pain [1]. Psoas muscle pain is typically brought on by a physically straining event involving the Psoas, but is worsened and prolonged by sitting in chairs [2]. Sitting in chairs (especially while slouching) is horrible for Psoas muscle pain because it shortens the muscle and increases its tension. Standing up after sitting for hours will likely trigger Psoas muscle pain.

Psoas Muscle Pain Patterns:

Psoas can refer pain both in the low back and upper thigh areas, as indicated in bright red below. The patterns below show pain referred by a single Psoas muscle. However, both Psoas muscles tend to be tight together and refer pain to both sides, so each side of the body can feel pain with the bright red pattern.

Psoas Muscle Pain Chart

Psoas Muscle Pain Trigger Point Chart [1]

Additional Psoas Muscle Pain Symptoms:

Psoas muscle pain can be worsened in the areas above while doing the following:

  • Standing up after sitting for a long period of time [1]
  • Slouching¬†while sitting for long periods of time

Other Psoas muscle pain symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty pushing the hips forward
  • Lower back pain
  • Pain while doing sit-ups [2]
  • Comfort while lying on the side in the fetal position [1]
  • Stiffness in the hips and groin [2]


Psoas Muscle Pain Relief

Psoas Deep Tissue Release:

The first step to relieving Psoas muscle pain is effective deep tissue massage. Successful deep tissue release will break up any knots, tightness, and trigger points that contribute to the Psoas muscle pain. This will relieve the constant tension brought on by an angry, painful Psoas muscle and provide quick relief upon successful release.

Psoas Muscle Pain Release Tool:

The Psoas muscle is difficult to access. A professional can massage it with the hands, or you can invest in a tool designed for Psoas release. For Psoas and other back-pain-inducing muscle releases, QL Claw is the best. QL Claw was designed to release the 5 muscles that contribute to the majority of back pain when tight, and Psoas is high on that list. There are tools out there designed to hit a few of the 5 muscles, but none can hit all 5 with the effect of QL Claw. Learn more at the link below!


Psoas Muscle Pain Release
Psoas Release Using QL Claw

Additional Psoas Muscle Pain Relief

Psoas Muscle Stretch

Psoas release via deep tissue massage can solve the majority of your muscle pain, but stretching is a great way to take it to the next level. Stretching the Psoas can be difficult - especially if you are in lower back muscle spasms - but it is well worth the extra length and pressure relief it can bring. Fight through the mobility sweats, you got this! Here are a few great Psoas stretches for muscle pain relief:

  • Spiderman Stretch
  • Upward Dog Yoga Pose
  • ATG Split Squat

Glute Activation For Psoas Relief

Allow me to explain. The gluteal muscles and the hip flexors (including Psoas) are antagonistic muscles - just like the bicep and tricep. When you activate one side of an antagonist muscle pair, the other relaxes and turns off. To picture this easily with the bicep/tricep analogy, contract/flex your tricep all the way and feel your bicep - it is lengthened and at rest. We can accomplish this same feat on the gluteals and Psoas muscle pain by activating the glute muscles through a few simple exercises:


Thanks for reading "Psoas Muscle Pain". Leave a comment or read one of the following next to own your lower back pain for good!


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

[2] Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.

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