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Stretching specific muscles in the body is often important to treat occasional pain and prevent injuries or strains in the long run. Iliopsoas, for those who do not know, is a set of internal hip muscles (iliac and psoas) that are indispensable for our daily movement – therefore, they must always be relaxed and in good condition.

After all, what is iliopsoas?

Iliopsoas muscles are very important to perform basic functions of movement of the body. The iliopsoas is a set of muscles, formed by the iliac, major psoas and minor psoas. It inserts at the very end of the lumbar spine and extends to the hip. The main function of these muscles is to flex the hips, that is, to raise the legs (every time we walk, for example) and to stabilize the lumbar spine.

How to do iliopsoas stretching in everyday life?

Because they are indispensable for basic functions (such as walking), the iliopsoas muscles must always be relaxed. For this, it is necessary to do daily stretches and, if there is any discomfort or problem in the region, it is essential to go to a physiotherapist to make the appropriate treatment and avoid major complications.

Refer to a physiotherapist for myofascial release

To relax and relax your muscles more efficiently and safely, the ideal is always to use a professional in the area to perform the appropriate positions and movements. The most effective for the relaxation of the iliopsoas is the myofascial release and release of trigger points that hold the muscles and increase muscle tension. It is done with the patient lying down. The therapist (or someone else) finds the muscle below the bone, squeezes and holds. It will hurt! But, doing it with repetition, it will give almost immediate relief.

Do an exercise in a forward position to stretch the iliopsoas

When it comes to stretching the iliopsoas on your own, the physiotherapist recommends doing a very simple position, which consists of standing, with one leg flexed in front and the other stretched back, keeping the spine in good posture. It is important to highlight that, after doing this position with the right knee flexed, it is necessary to invert to do the same with the other side of the body.

One way to self-stretch the iliopsoas is: stay in the forward position (one knee in support, flexed at the front, and the other stretched at the back) and move your hips forward so that you feel the stretch. Stretching the iliopsoas will help to relax your hips, reducing the tension in that joint.

Stretch on the edge of the bed

Did you know that it is also possible to stretch the iliopsoas still lying in bed, right after waking up? To do this correctly, the ideal is to lie down with the coccyx (small bone located at the end of the spine) positioned right on the edge of the bed. Another way is to lie on the edge of the bed with one knee out, letting the weight pull your leg. Keep the other leg bent (with the thigh almost touching the chest and hands on the knee) to improve effectiveness.

Why is it important to stretch the iliopsoas daily?

Like all muscles in the body, iliopsoas need to be stretched and worked out frequently so that there is no strain or more serious problem. According to the physiotherapist, it is necessary to take a series of precautions and resort to the right type of treatment in case of contracture in the region of these muscles.

When the muscles (iliopsoas) are very tense and locked – often due to a great effort in the leg – there is a compensation in the lumbar. In this case, it is normal for the person to start feeling pain in this region, precisely because of this tension, which causes the muscle to exert an upward force, pulling the spine. With a lot of long-term contracture, they become more tense, rigid and continue to pull the inserts – which leads to the appearance of low back pain and possibly in the legs, quadriceps and even the knees, depending on the severity of the tension.

Therefore, it is very important to keep this musculature relaxed – which can be done through myofascial release, which is the most suitable, as it is done by a specialized professional who does the job with good quality. Still, on a daily basis, it is important to include these stretches in our exercise plan to improve long-term muscle tension and prevent lower back pain or further complications in the lower limbs.

The psoas, also called the ‘soul muscle’, is the deepest muscle in the muscular system and, in addition, it contributes the most to stabilize the human body. It helps us maintain balance, joint mobility, amplitude of movement and the correct functioning of the organs located in the abdominal region.

This muscle, which connects the spine and legs, helps us to stand and allows us to lift our legs so that we can walk. A psoas in good condition favors a correct body posture and offers accommodation to the internal structure of the body.

Eastern cultures gave it the title of ‘soul muscle’ because of its relationship with the central nervous system, because when it is connected with the diaphragm, it is related to breathing.

We know that the respiratory rhythm has a bidirectional relationship with our emotional state, so it is considered the messenger of our psychological state. It is, therefore, the muscle in charge of helping us to oxygenate our mind.

Stress, along with the accompanying lifestyle, can overwhelm the psoas, causing it to shorten or harden. This causes back and lower back pain, digestive problems, painful periods, etc.

If the state of stress becomes chronic, the psoas ends up shortening and hardening, affecting our physical and emotional state, generating great discomfort that ends up depleting our body.

On the contrary, the stronger and more flexible the ‘soul muscle’ is, the more vitality we will emanate, since energy will be able to flow freely through the openings, muscles, joints, organs, etc.

Psoas, the soul muscle

Exercises to relax the ‘soul muscle’

To work on the flexibility and strengthening of this muscle, we can perform various exercises or stretches. For this, we must take into account that the muscle starts at the T12 vertebra, continues through the five lumbar vertebrae, and connects to the upper part of the thigh bone (femur).

Disciplines like yoga focus on working this muscle, as it helps to release unnecessary tension and flow through really liberating body movements that help us to reconnect with our needs.

Let’s look at some of the exercises that allow us to stretch, strengthen and flex the ‘soul muscle’. However, before starting to define them, we must know that we need to hold each position for a few seconds, as well as repeat it with each leg.

In addition, we must know that it is recommended that we do them daily, and it is also convenient to do them in the morning.

  1. Stretching for the legs

Stand with your legs spread at shoulder height.

Keep your back straight, this will help you to contract your abdominal muscles.

Step forward with your right foot.

Lower your left knee to the floor and slide it until the entire left leg is straight.

Support your hands on your right knee and hold the position for a few seconds.

Get up calmly, go back to the beginning and do the same exercise with your other leg.

Variant: use an extra element. This involves performing the same exercise, but placing a stool, box or chair at knee height, in order to support you and carry all the weight of your body forward, so that your left leg is straight. Repeat with the other leg.

  1. Stretching the spine

Lie on your back on a mat or rug.

Place your arms perpendicular to your body, in the shape of a cross. Your palms have to touch the floor.

Bring your right knee over your left, rotate your hips and rest them on the floor. The leg should be at a right angle.

The left leg must not be flexed.

Hold for a few seconds and repeat with the other leg.

  1. Stretching the knee to the chest

Lie on your back on a mat or rug.

Lift your right knee up to your chest and hold it with both hands.
Do not lift your right foot off the floor.

Hold for a few seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Making a habit of performing these simple exercises daily will favor our physical and psychological balance.

Taking time daily to fill ourselves with psychological oxygen is something that we cannot “put off for later”.

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