To understand your psoas muscles means to understand what they do when healthy, and the symptoms, when they are unhealthy (too tight).
What Your Psoas Muscles Do Largest Bed
In healthy function, your psoas muscles maintain your uprightness in sitting, influence your spinal alignment and balance when standing, and your movement when bending, twisting, walking and running. Your psoas muscles are core stabilizers.
Tight psoas muscles show up as groin pain, deep pelvic pain, and as a deep belly ache. Postural effects include a butt that sticks out in back and a protruding belly, as your pelvis shifts position to top-forward. In movement, stride length is restricted.
Tight hamstrings often develop to compensate for the extra drag. Chronic constipation also develops, in some people, due to the effect of an overactive psoas on the neighboring nerve plexus that regulates intestinal activity.
To Free Tight Psoas Muscles
Three basic approaches exist.
First basic understanding: Muscle/movement memory runs the show.
If your psoas muscles are tight, your muscle/movement memory keeps them that way. Muscle/movement memory comes from a deeper level of the nervous system than voluntary movement does; it’s conditioning.
Because muscle/movement memory develops by conditioning, stretching and manipulation produce, at best, temporary and partial results. You can’t stretch or manipulate away conditioning; you can’t stretch or manipulate away muscle/movement memory. The pattern of remembered movement and tension quickly returns. That understanding explains your experience with therapy for tight psoas muscles.
Since muscle/movement memory runs that show, you need an approach that re-conditions muscle/movement memory — and that’s where movement education comes in.
Movement education isn’t “knowing how to move” or “maintaining good posture” or maintaining “neutral spine position”. It’s new, automatic movement conditioning. It lives at the depth where movement/memory exists — the kind of movement memory involved in riding a bicycle, for example.
How did you learn to ride a bicycle (or swim, for that matter)? Practice: development of new patterns of movement until they become habitual.
To develop new control and new movement involves not just freeing muscles, but also integrating them into movement patterns with other movers and stabilizers of the body.
Movement training also involves awakening sensation of movement and position. The odd thing is, if you don’t have such sensation or if it’s distorted, you don’t know it. It’s an absence. When you develop such sensation, you realize what you had lacked.
Without the integration step, your psoas muscles are likely to revert to their tight state. I’ll say more, as we go on.