What pain and symptoms are associated with the iliopsoas muscles?
- Low back pain
- Abdomen pain
- Groin pain
- Leg pain
- Pelvic pain
- Difficulty standing from a sitting position
- Severe pain or inability to do sit-ups or crunches
- Tendency to walk with feet turned out
- Extreme dysfunction in the iliopsoas can cause pain under the shoulder blade that extends down to the top of the hip.
What movements does the iliopsoas muscles control?
- Picks up the thigh (when you raise your thigh toward your stomach)
- Assists in straightening the spine
- Bending over
- Assists with side bending
Where are the Iliopsoas muscles?
The Iliopsoas is comprised of three muscles the iliacus, psoas major, and psoas minor. The psoas major and minor attaches to the lower back vertebrae come down to the inside of the hip bone to join with the iliacus which lines the inside of the hip bone. The 3 joined muscles then run through the pelvis to connect with the upper leg.
Activities that cause iliopsoas pain and symptoms:
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Sleeping on your side in the fetal position
- Being overweight
- Strenuous running
- Climbing stairs
- Sit ups, crunches and leg ups
- Slumping posture
Interesting facts about the iliopsoas muscles:
- The iliopsoas is an important postural muscle and plays a major role in human’s upright stature
- In approximately 40% of individuals, the psoas minor is absent
- If only one side is affected pain runs up and down the back, hip, and upper leg. If both iliopsoas muscles are affected pain runs horizontally across the low back, pelvis, and lower abdomen.
- The psoas major is the strongest hip flexor (bends the hip)
Clinical diagnoses to which the iliopsoas muscles symptoms may contribute:
- Quadratus lumborum syndrome
- Degenerative disc disease
- Trochanteric bursitis
- Sprain / Strain of the low back
- Crohn’s Disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Kidney Stones
- Kidney infection
- Bladder Infection
- Ovarian Cysts
- Painful menstruation
- Prolapsed uterus
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Bladder Disease or Infection
- Inguinal Hernia
- Surgical Adhesions
Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the iliopsoas muscle:
- Rectus Abdominis
- Abdominal Obliques
- Adductor Magnus
- Adductor Longus and Brevis
- Quadratus Lumborum
- Iliocostalis Lumborum
Satellite Trigger Points: Quadratus lumborum, Rectus abdominis, Tensor fascia latae, Gluteus maximus, Gluteus medius, Gluteus minimus, Pectineus, Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus, Biceps femoris, Opposite Iliopsoas muscle group
Affected Organ Systems: Urinary, Reproductive, and Digestive Systems
For detailed anatomy information see: Iliopsoas Anatomy
Help with Iliopsoas Muscle Pain
Warm Therapy Gel For Middle and Low Back Pain
Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. Unlike other over the counter heating creams, it provides warmth without burning heat. Although you cannot directly treat the iliopsoas with a cream, applying Sombra to the muscles across the lower back, buttock and upper thigh can help reduce pain and tightness caused by the iliopsoas muscle. I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and pain from arthritis.
Professionals Choice Comfort Fit Low Back Support Provides Relief From Iliopsoas Muscle Pain By Providing Low Back Support and Abdominal Compression
I seldom rave about products, but this is one product it would be hard for me to do without! The name Professionals Choice name is well known in the horse industry and is highly regarded for their top quality products that work.
The Pro Choice Back Support is my go to back brace. This brace has helped me more than any other with low back and low abdominal pain. The lumbar pad provides support without the uncomfortable restriction and poking of metal supports. The band is wide, covering the entire lower back. It has an adjustable Velcro front closure along with adjustable Velcro side panels which can be tightened or loosened to provide support and compression. The brace also reflects your body heat back into the muscles, providing warmth to tight sore muscles. For those with recent injuries or flare ups, it is comfortable enough wear all night and will not disrupt your sleep.
The brace is made of closed-cell, limestone-based Neoprene which is extremely durable and resilient. The brace retains it’s shape over years of use and does not absorb moisture. It can be machined washed on the gentle cycle.
I have recommended this brace to many clients and friends with chronic low back pain and everyone has commented how much it helps relieve their pain and helps with mobility. As with other back braces, it may not help much with sciatica pain, but it can provide additional support and warmth to low back muscles which may bring some relief. But if you have muscle, tendon or ligament injuries, new or old, I highly recommend that you try this brace!
Sizing: Small and Medium fits waists 22″ – 38″. Large fits waists 24″ – 40″. X-large fits waists 41″ – 50. XX-large fits waists 51″ – 60″.
Compression Shorts For Iliopsoas Injury and Pain
Compression shorts can help with pain caused by the iliopsoas muscle by providing support and warmth to the muscles. The shorts are especially effective for pain in the hip, groin, and upper thigh due to injury or dysfunction of the iliopsoas muscles.
Compression shorts are often recommended by doctors, physical therapists and athletic trainers for injury recovery of hip, hamstring, quadriceps, and groin pulls. The shorts are also believed to help prevent many soft tissue and muscle injuries.
If you are considering buying compression shorts, I cannot stress enough the importance of quality. Though it is tempting to buy a cheaper brand, I recommend staying with reputable brands and shorts that have high user reviews. Many of the cheaper brands do not have even compression and tend to lose their shape and compression after a few wearings.
Support for Hip, Buttock, Groin and Upper Thigh Pain Related To The Iliopsoas Muscle
The Cramer E6 Groin Hip Spica is a full hip wrap and provides support for groin injuries. The wrap is made to fit high up on the thigh and around the hip with an abdomen band that will hold the wrap in place. The brace is pliable neoprene which provides warmth and making it comfortable to wear. Recommended by Physical Therapists and athletic trainers for high thigh and groin injuries. Consider this brace if your pain is in the buttocks, hip, groin, and upper thigh area.
Self Treatment For Low Back Pain and Low Abdominal Pain Caused By The Iliopsoas Muscle Group
Do you know that muscle ‘knots’ or other dysfunction in the iliopsoas muscle can cause pain in the low back that extends into the buttocks and outside of the hip? It also contributes to low abdominal, pelvic and groin pain.
If you are interested in treating back pain caused by trigger points I recommend you purchase Claire Davies The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. Mr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language. But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain, how to find the trigger point and treat it. He also provides stretching and strengthening exercises for each muscle. If you suffer from unresolved back, hip, buttock, and leg pain I highly recommend this book. It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body. Relieving trigger points in the iliopsoas muscle have helped many people reduce or even resolve their low back, groin, and pelvic pain issues. This book is a must have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.
**If you purchase the book, the muscle treatments are listed separately. Look for the iliacus muscle and the psoas muscle in the Quick Muscle Index in the back of the book.**
Muscle pain and treatment is different for every individual. The products recommended above are a few items with which I have personal experience and use both personally and with my clients. However, there are other products with different price points, different sizes, and different application techniques that you might be interested in. The links below will take you to Amazon.com where you can browse the various products.