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Whether in school, at work or on Netflix we are all exposed to the inconvenience of having to sit for long periods of time. What we are not aware of is how it affects the psoas muscle. This muscle should not be ignored just because you can’t pronounce it. It is a powerful mediator between the dynamic stability of the lumbar spine and fluid hip function and is often shortened during periods of sitting. The psoas muscle doesn’t act alone, rather it acts in concert with paraspinal muscles (iliocostalis, longissimus, and multifidus) to hold your lumbar spine in alignment.

A strong psoas muscle has been shown to be protective against disability coming from low back pain and may improve surgical outcomes after posterior decompressive spine surgery. Sitting down shortens the psoas muscle, causing it to contract which leads to weakening (via deactivation) of the muscles in the spine. Therefore we want to stretch the psoas muscle out while working out the lumbar paraspinal (low back) muscles.

Please review these points and consider them before sitting down or going to the gym:

  • Low back pain can lead to hip immobility and knee pain, and vice versa
  • Your back muscles and psoas muscle are as much of your core as your abdominal muscles are
  • If you want to prevent the need for back surgery someday then practice these moves sooner than later
  • Sometimes a good stretch can be better for you than a tough work out, range of motion matters as you get older
  • Consider looking up these stretches and moves to get started
    • Couch stretch
    • Scorpion Stretch
    • Superman pose
    • Hanging leg lifts
    • Frankensteins
    • Psoas march

To learn more about avoiding spinal surgery and how your psoas muscle plays a role in this, please get in touch with the spine specialists at Mana Spine!