Psoas – A pain in the back

Last September I joined the noon class in squatting and on the first rep of my last set something went very, very wrong.
I felt something in my back spasm. Immediately I dropped the bar and tried to walk it off – but with no luck.

Usually when something like this happens, I’ve let one (or both) of my hips get too tight and it will throw my sacroiliac joint out of alignment.
A lot of pain and much sadness.

I visited the Chiropractor and did all the recommended stretches, mobility and other little tricks that typically help me out of this type of mess and it all helped a little, but nothing really solved the issue.  In fact I couldn’t lift my left leg much off the ground and certainly not over the level of my knee for several weeks.
So what had happened?
Somehow I had aggravated my Iliopsoas muscle, particularly on my left side.The Psoas originates in your lower back and connects to your femur acting as a hip flexor and is the strongest of this muscle group.
Why is this a big deal?
Since we spend so much time sitting, a shortened psoas is becoming more and more common. In my case this led to some nasty back pain that required an aggressive form the Sampson Stretch to relieve. (see image below)
IMG_0356     IMG_0355
The ‘Relaxed Lunge’ as it’s called by Kit Laughlin requires a bit more setup and time than the simple  Sampson Stretch but it’s worth every bit of effort.
There are several variations of this stretch including a partner assistance version (very intense!!).
But basicly the athlete uses a series of contraction/relaxation cycles to slowly sink deeper over the course of several minutes.
Give it a try!
Note: you should not feel this in your lower back. If you do stop and talk to a coach about what’s going on.