If your work involves sitting for long hours, then you need psoas stretches. That is because the psoas muscles get tightened when you sit for long and can lead to lower back pain. It can also cause a hunched over appearance with time. These stretches strengthen and release your psoas hence avoiding complications.
1. How do I Know if I Need a Psoas Stretch?
There are ways you can determine whether you need a psoas stretch. They are as discussed below.
1.1 You have a Leg Length Discrepancy
When your psoas muscle is tight, it can lead to the pelvis of one of your legs rotating forward. In turn, it causes an internal return on that leg. Your other leg will counter the imbalance by rotating externally.
As a result, the affected leg will be longer. When you are walking, the steps will drive it up to your hip socket. This condition is called leg length discrepancy. However, it can be fixed by a psoas muscle stretch.
1.2 Difficulty Moving Your Bowels
Many lumber blood vessels and nerves go through the psoas muscles. When psoas become tight, they squeeze the vessels hence compromising the blood flow to the legs and pelvic organs. They also affect their never impulses. This can contribute to constipation.
Besides this, your torso may shorten, hence reducing your internal organs’ space. Consequently, absorption and elimination of food in your body are affected.
1.3 You Feel Exhausted
The psoas muscles are responsible for ensuring that your adrenals and kidneys relax and expand well. They facilitate proper circulation of the blood because your diaphragm moves smoothly on them as you breathe. However, when they become tight, this whole process gets jeopardized.
Your adrenal glands and kidneys become imbalanced, hence causing emotional and physical exhaustion.
1.4 You Experience Knee and Low Back Pain
Sometimes you may feel this pain without any apparent reason. That is when you know that there is a problem with your psoas muscle. If it is tight, it will lock your femur into your hip socket thus making rotation in that joint difficult.
1.5 Menstrual Cramps
Tight psoas muscle can put extra pressure on your reproductive organs. Therefore, it may partially contribute to you experiencing severe menstrual cramps.
1.6 Have Postural Problems
These problems can arise under two conditions, when your psoas is overstretched and when it is short or tight. When it is overstretched, it may cause your lumbar spine to flatten hence causing a “flat butt.” When it is short, it may compress your spine thus pulling the backside of your body into “duck butt.”
This is because the tight hamstrings pull down on the sitting bones prompting the sacrum to get off its natural curve hence causing a flattened lumbar spine. As a result, you may experience a low-back injury or feel pain in your hip’s front side.
The situation gets even worse if the psoas is both overstretched and tight. If this is the case, then pulling of the pelvis will cause your head to protrude forward and your back to curve. At this point, psoas muscle stretch becomes more than a necessity.
2. What do I Need to do before Stretching?
Before stretching, you need to do a warm-up. It helps prepare your body for the stretch by increasing your muscles’ flexibility such that you do not have much difficulty while stretching.
A warm-up will also increase your body temperature, heartbeat, metabolism rate, and the flow of blood into various parts of the body. This will ensure that you get the maximum return from the time and effort you invest in stretching.
3. The Most Popular Psoas Stretches
3.1 Standing Psoas Stretch
Standing psoas stretch is not easy to do, but is a great element to try out. You need a block that will help in supporting your weight. Then place it a few inches away from the wall.
The next step is to stand on it and lift one of your legs onto the block while the other is left suspended in the air. Use your hand to find support by holding the wall. While in this position, swing the hanging leg forward and back.
Do the same for the other leg and you will be good to go.
3.2 Psoas Stretch Foam Roller
Psoas stretch foam roller provides your body with neuromuscular stimulation. It is like blowing your finger when you get hurt. When you use the foam roller, you erase the muscles' inflexibility and soreness hence making it easier for them to recover.
3.3 Supine Hip Flexor Stretch
This exercise is also among the most popular psoas stretches. It is easy to perform. You place your legs flat on the floor. Then pull the left one until its knee is bent at 90 degrees. While here, pull your shoulders down and back up severally.
After that, you will hold your left thigh using both hands and pull it towards your chest. Hold for about five seconds before stretching it.
Repeat the same for the right leg as well.