Iliacus Release

Iliacus, like Psoas, is a hip flexor on the front of the body that can cause a great deal of low back pain [1]. QL Claw is a phenomenal Iliacus release tool - one of its many designed functions. Release the Iliacus with the tutorial below, and scroll down further to Iliacus Pain Symptoms to determine if Iliacus is causing you pain.

Iliacus Release Tutorial

Iliacus Release Placement:

Iliacus Release Tool QL Claw

Iliacus Release Video Walkthrough:


Iliacus Release Written Tutorial

Placement: Using your fingers, locate the large, bony hip bone protrusion on the front of your body. Feel for the muscle 1-2 inches inside the hip bone, 0-2 inches above the waistline. When you locate the Iliacus, it will feel good to massage. The trigger portion should dig into muscle in this area - not bone.

Motion: Tilt the entire torso back and forth into the trigger to work the Iliacus. This muscle may be very tender and tight at first. It may take a minute or two to feel Iliacus release, just keep the body physiology relaxed and focus on feeling for tender spots in muscle (not bone). Iliacus release will be worth the short wait.

Additional Iliacus Release Pressure 1: Engage the glute and lock out the leg (straighten the knee) on the side that is being massaged. This will trigger additional Iliacus release with the antagonistic effects - turning on the glute will force the antagonist Iliacus muscle to release.

Additional Iliacus Release Pressure 2: "The Windshield Wiper" Bend the knee on the trigger-side leg so that the knee is at a 90 degree angle, and the foot is in the air. While maintaining the 90 degree knee angle, move the foot back and forth like a windshield wiper.

Iliacus Release 2 Using QL Claw

Additional Iliacus Release Pressure 3: "The Stinger" From the Windshield Wiper, engage the trigger-side glute to lift the leg off the ground. If Iliacus hasn't released yet, it will here.

Iliacus Release 3 Using QL Claw

Iliacus Pain Symptoms

Iliacus Anatomy & Function: 

Iliacus is a hip flexor muscle that activates when lifting the knee to the chest. Iliacus connects from the top of the hip to the top of the femur. Iliacus and Psoas are often referred to together as the Iliopsoas complex because they function and tighten as a unit.

Due to its nature as a hip flexor, Iliacus can shorten from sitting for long periods of time. People who have desk jobs tend to have very tight and trigger point ridden Iliacus (and Psoas) muscles. 

Iliacus Release Tool

Iliacus Muscle

Iliacus Pain Pattern & Symptoms:

The classic pain that manifests from Iliacus tightness is low back pain. Iliacus and Psoas trigger points and tightness refer pain to the low back and upper thigh in a gnarly pattern, as seen in bright red below [1]. The image is shown with one-side Iliopsoas tightness, but both sides are generally tight and causing pain together.

Iliacus Release Pain Chart

Iliacus Referred Pain Chart [1]

Iliacus Release:

Scroll up to see how the Iliacus release tool QL Claw can help with low back pain relief!

Check out our tutorials for releasing other low back-pain-inducing muscles below!




[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.