Hips, psoas and quads … oh my
Personal Trainer at Midland Fitness
Your hips, psoas and quad muscles are related in many ways and often band together to cause pain. Here are some quick things to consider if you experience back pain, sciatica, piriformis syndrome, disc issues or any related symptoms.
Quads get tight because we overuse them and shorten them with sitting and flexion movements like biking and pushups. Loosen them up with a good stretch and self-myofascial-release program. Tight/short quads will pull bones of the hip/low back complex out of alignment. Then you get epic on the mountain and experience low back pain. Just saying.
Psoas is your “tenderloin” muscle that connects your low back to your femurs. Your psoas gets tight and short from overdoing it or sitting too much. Your low back will bark at you when psoas is locked. Like everything, it needs some strengthening and a little myofascial release. Back in the ’90s, we were sure that crunches were awesome. Now, we are absolutely positive that planks are the way to go. Planks do keep your hips out of a constant state of flexion and train the psoas to stabilize your low back.
Everything actually is all in the hips. Of course that is only my opinion. Hip muscles often get in a tug of war with the quads and usually lose because we sit too much. This cuts off a little blood supply, tightens quads and psoas even more and gets you to barely ever have the need to use your hip muscles. Even athletes get into this semi-complex jam based on the repetitive movements and posturing. Strengthen glutes to oppose quads and psoas.
Typically, all of these factors make your back hurt or give you the literal version of pain in the butt. Check with your orthopedic doc if you can safely attempt to reduce pain with some strengthening and stretching in the right places. Get suspected disc and nerve issues checked out quickly. Don’t just cover-up the problem with drugs.
Don’t let deconditioned muscles cause you pain and thus lead to a whole mess of other issues. I see more weakness issues turn into medical conditions because people refuse to do the conditioning work.
Steve Wells is a personal trainer and co-owner of Midland Fitness. His column appears on Tuesdays.
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