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The iliopsoas is a term used for 2 muscles located in the lower trunk of the body. These muscles can cause and contribute to pain in the middle and lower back, the hip, buttocks, and thigh. The muscles can also contribute to pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis, and groin.
Where Are The Iliopsoas Muscles Located?
The muscles of the ilopsoas are the iliacus, and the psoas major.
The iliacus muscle lines the inside of the hip bone (ilium). The psoas major attaches to the low back (lumbar) vertebrae and descends down to join with the iliacus. The conjoined muscle then connects to the top of the thigh bone (femur).
A third muscle the psoas minor is sometimes listed in the iliopsoas group. It attaches to the T12 and L1 vertebrae of the spine.
The Iliopsoas Muscles
What Movements Do The Iliopsoas Muscles Control?
- Bending over (flexes the spine)
- Picks up the thigh (when you raise your thigh toward your stomach)
What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Iliopsoas Trigger Point Pain?
Iliopsoas Muscles: Trigger Point Referral Pattern
- 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
- A 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
Note: If the iliopsoas is affected on one side, the pain runs verticle, up and down the back, hip, and upper leg on the affected side. If both iliopsoas muscles are affected pain runs horizontally across the low back, pelvis, and lower abdomen.
Activities Which Contribute To Trigger Point Development In The Iliopsoas Muscles
- 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
- 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
- The psoas major is the strongest hip flexor (bends the hip)
Iliopsoas muscle pain and symptoms can be similar to, contribute to, and be affected by these medical diagnoses:
- Quadratus lumborum syndrome
- Trochanteric bursitis
- 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
- L1 L2 L3 L4 or L5 radiculopathy
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 associated with the iliopsoas muscle:
- Quadratus lumborum
- Rectus abdominis
- Tensor fascia latae
- Gluteus maximus
- Gluteus medius
- Gluteus minimus
- Opposite Iliopsoas muscle group
How Do I Treat Iliopsoas Trigger Points?
The muscles of the iliopsoas are tricky to treat and if you are unsure of how to apply treatment you can bruise or damage vital organs in the area. Find a massage therapist, physical therapist, sports therapist or chiropractor trained in trigger point therapy that can show you how to locate and treat the trigger points.
If your pain is due to trigger points in the muscle the only way to reduce and eliminate the pain is to deactivate the trigger points. However, the recommendations below can help reduce your pain and are nice to have on hand if you suffer from abdominal or back pain or sleep on your side.
Get Relief From Iliopsoas Muscles Pain By Providing Abdominal Support and Compression
The Pro-Choice Back Support is my go-to for abdominal support and 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 to wear all night and will not disrupt your sleep.
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 increase mobility. 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 waist 24" - 40". X-large fits waist 41" - 50. XX-large fits waist 51" - 60".
Do You Sleep On Your Side?
Sleeping on your side throws the spine and pelvis out of alignment which affects the iliopsoas. Side sleepers often have low back, low abdomen, and groin pain. The Moonlight Slumber Full Body Pillow aligns the back and hips by supporting your leg which helps prevent tight sore muscles giving you a great night's sleep.
Though trigger points in the iliopsoas are difficult to treat, once they are deactivated your pain and stiffness will be greatly reduced or eliminated.
Trigger points that are relatively new usually deactivate quickly with a few days of consistent treatment. If they have affected the muscle for months or even years it may take several weeks to fully deactivate. The good news is that you notice a reduction of pain and stiffness after several treatments.
Muscle Trigger Points and How They Contribute To Muscle and Joint Pain explain the different types of trigger points, how they develop, and the importance of finding and deactivating all the trigger points that are affecting you.
Recommended Products For Low Back and Abdominal Pain
These are products that I use personally and recommend to clients
Products To Keep On Hand For Quick Treatment
Relax While Easing Your Pain and Stiffness
The Snailax Vibrating Massage Mat With Heat is made for those times. The mat features a full body vibrating massage and has multiple settings for massage and heat. The remote allows you to adjust settings with a push of a button. A wonderful way to ease aches and pains in the back, hips and legs at the end of the day!
Twelve years of experience working with clients with chronic pain, post injury pain, and post surgery pain. Muscle dysfunction is often overlooked but can hold the key to many pain conditions.