This page his page has been created to compliment our Manual Osteopathy sessions.
May this information increase your knowledge, body awareness and the conviction that:
Every tissue, structure, process, system, organ, action, thought, within our body-mind unit is deeply interrelated.
Our body has the inherent ability to heal if we provide it with the resources and conditions to do so.
Everything is consequential. Therefore, improvement and regression in our condition is highly influenced by our EVERYDAY actions, lack-of-action, thoughts and emotions.
the trouble-maker of your lower body
Low back pain/tightness, mid-back pain/tightness, hip pain or movement limitations, SI joint pain, quad tightness, knee strain/pain, altered sensations in lower limb(s), pelvic conditions including organ dysfunction, movement restrictions and musculoskeletal imbalances... These are some of the conditions that can be originated and/or aggravated by a troubled Iliopsoas muscle.*
If you are reading this, it is because our assessment revealed an unhappy Iliopsoas, meaning that your Iliopsoas exhibits asymmetric or suboptimal tone or activation (motor control), muscle knots or hypertonicity, fascial adhesions or restrictions, persistent activation during a relaxed state, strain and/or other types of lesions and dysfunctions.
More than likely, the reason you came to us seems completely unrelated to the troubled state of your Iliopsoas. But as I explained during our session, because of the interrelated nature of our body structures and processes, this muscle can be at the origin of, and/or may strongly contribute to your condition. We created this page to shed some light on the role the Iliopsoas plays in numerous conditions. May this knowledge inspire you to initiate the positive changes that will help you regain and maintain a healthier state.
Most of the information on this page should make sense to you since it echoes what we already discussed during our session. Nevertheless, if you have any questions, I will be happy to explain. Enjoy the reading.
* Similar symptoms can be caused by other pathologies. Unless recommended to you during our sessions, be aware that some of the information and exercises on this page might not be useful to you or could be contraindicated to your condition.
At the Origin of Iliopsoas troubles...
Injury (hip, back, thigh, etc.)
Poor posture, prolonged sitting
Dysfunctional movement patterns
Weekend-warrior lifestyle or high hip-flexor demand type of activities
Situations triggering a strong/prolonged stress response
GIT conditions, e.g. food sensitivity or allergies causing inflammation or irritation
Spine conditions (e.g. misalignment, stenosis, compression, osteoarthritis)
Myofascial "knots", hypertonicity, adhesions or restrictions, suboptimal, persistent or excessive asymmetric activation, etc.
As I might have explained during our session, becoming aware of your Iliopsoas troubles is like discovering a stain on your carpet. Awareness is the first step towards recovery because it opens the possibility to positive action. In this sense, it is very important to start cleaning the stain on a daily basis (and as often as possible), but also, it would be good to stop pouring wine on the carpet. Both processes need to happen with consistency, in order for the stain to gradually disappear.
During your session, I showed you how to start "cleaning" some of those stains by utilizing some techniques designed to release the myofascial/soft-tissue structures. Please, keep in mind that
In order to become good at it, you need to practice as often as possible.
Your body may need some time to trust and become familiar to your own healing touch.
Most stains do not go away overnight. As a general rule, older-repetitive stains will need more time to fade than recent ones.
How long have you been spilling wine on your carpet, days, months, years? The good thing is healing is at your reach, just be patient and consistent.
The carpet stain
- How to proceed -
Cleaning the carpet
This is about actively addressing muscle "knots", myofascial adhesions or restrictions, etc.
Releasing muscle and fascia
Resetting muscle tone
Warmup-> Release-> Stretch (more advanced routine)
How often? As often as possible AND on a daily basis. Don't forget to do it right before falling asleep and first thing in the morning. The more you do it, the less often you have to see me!
Stop spilling wine
This is about creating new habits to avoid "feeding" muscle "knots" or hypertonicity, excessive asymmetry, myofascial adhesions, movement inefficiency, etc.
Do your best to improve posture and movement habits ALL-THE-TIME (while standing, sitting, walking, on the phone, at the computer, cooking, washing dishes...)
Activate the "J" for improved alignment, symmetry and movement efficiency.
Address any food sensitivity or allergies.
Learn and apply stress management strategies (e.g. mindful breathing routines)
How often? As often as possible AND on a daily basis. Creating and adapting to new more appropriate habits requires consistency.
Note: This is something only YOU can do. If you need guidance, or ideas on how to begin with, please let me know.
But, I was fine... Wait, was I?
Many musculoskeletal conditions develop slowly and gradually. More often, their effects take years to "show up" or to become "visible" or "perceivable". The drop that spills the water may not be responsible for having filled up the container. What filled up your container? A weekend-warrior lifestyle, inappropriate posture/movement habits, work style, overuse or repetitive strain injury (sport or work related), prolonged sitting, a sudden injury, changing your mattress, a new baby, poor stress management, a pre-existing condition?
During your initial visit, the history intake and initial assessment gave us an idea of what was the nature of the "last drop", but even more important, it helped us determine what are some of the aspects that may have contributed to filling up your container.
After our session, I should have sent you an email with links and/or explanations on your Home Routines. Your Home Routines have been designed to address your specific needs including Iliopsoas, and set you on the path to a healthier body state. If you have any questions, or if you did not receive my email, please let me know.
I did receive my Home Routines, what comes next?
Iliopsoas in a nut shell
Iliopsoas is the fusion of two individual muscles: Psoas major and Iliacus. On the image, the right Psoas major is highlighted and the right Iliacus is located beside it, "attached" to the hip bone (Iliac bone). Iliopsoas is the only hip flexor that crosses the sacro-lumbar joint and attaches to the spine.
Because Psoas major attaches to the last thoracic vertebra (T12) and to all the lumbar vertebrae (L1-L5), any trouble in this muscle can directly cause muscle tension, osteo-articular strain, discomfort and disfunction anywhere from the pelvic area to the mid-back (passing by the low back).
Because Iliopsoas attaches to the iliac bone, any trouble in this muscle may also contribute to SI joint pain.
Because Iliopsoas is a hip flexor, its "troubled" state will be shared and echoed by the rest of the hip flexors, including Rectus Femoris (one of your quads) and affecting the knee and lower limb.
Iliopsoas functionality is also deeply and mutually interconnected to many other tissues and structures in the pelvic area and thus, can be linked to certain nerve pathologies affecting the lower limb(s).
In some cases, the upper body may also be affected by troubles in Iliopsoas structure and functionality.
What is feeding
Poor posture, prolonged sitting
Dysfunctional movement patterns
GIT conditions (e.g. food sensitivity or allergies, inflammation, gas, irritation)
The power of
- Do I really have to do my homework? -
Our internal garden
A new habit is like a baby tree
At the beginning, it requires our constant care: we need to water it, fertilize it, protect it from harsh wind, heavy rain, extreme sun or hail.
As time goes on, it becomes stronger and more independent. Finally, as a fully grown tree, it barely needs us. Yet, it provide us with shelter, food, oxygen, beauty... and becomes a source of inspiration for others.
In the same way, fully grown healthy habits barely need our attention. Yet, they protect us from injury and contribute to our health and well-being. Look at your internal garden, how many weeds need to be removed? Is there enough trees? If not, how about planting one or a few today?
Changing habits, golden rules
Only you can create your own new habits.
The more often you try, the faster your body will adapt.
Keep track of any changes in your condition. Many people tend to forget how bad they were and do not celebrate their small and gradual improvements. Be your best cheerleader.
If posture, movement or overall lifestyle habits are at the origin or are highly contributing to your condition, then a significant component of your recovery is going to come from, or will be potentialized by what you will be doing on an everyday AND all-the-time basis.
Manual treatments are like flowers in a pot, ready to be transplanted. However, the chance of success will greatly depend on the nature of the soil. If the soil is dry, hard and full of gravel, the flowers will look nice for few days at most. In the same way, the effects of manual treatments will last for longer if the conditions of your musculoskeletal structures are more favourable.
From this perspective, your Home Routines will guide you in the process of creating more favourable conditions that will allow the effects of the manual treatments to last for longer. Addressing hypertonicity, highly asymmetrical movement patterns, poor posture and so on, are equivalent to the act of watering, removing gravel off and digging/softening your soil. One of my roles is to instruct you on how to do it. In all sincerity, my goal is that one day you will no longer need me, having learned how to regain and sustain a healthier state.
I know, many of us are are not used to taking self responsibility in regard to our posture and other habits. Perhaps simply because our society does not really encourage us to do so. Also, expecting that our therapist will do ALL the work for us is a very attractive thought, I agree. However, as a general rule, if habits are causing or contributing to your condition, then taking self-responsibility and creating/adapting to new more appropriate habits will be the most effective, positive, life changing experience regarding your health.
Creating and adapting to new habits that enhances Iliopsoas functionality is not an easy path (though, like growing baby trees, it gets easier and easier). But nobody is expecting perfection from you. I suggest you do what you can and whenever it's possible, do your best. Give "consistency" a chance, we will be happy to support you. Always remember:
In the interrelated nature of our structures and processes,
everything has a consequence,
even the tiniest act, intention or thought.
This is how I can help you
During your initial visit:
We will go through a Health History intake and a customized Functional Assessment with the purpose of
determining what may be at the origin of your pain or dysfunction.
revealing underlying factors that may be contributing to or aggravating your condition.
I will provide Manual Osteopathic treatment and instruction with the purpose of addressing both, the origin and the main contributors to your condition.
Note: During this visit, I favour the techniques that can be learned and applied by yourself on a regular basis (e.g. self soft-tissue release). This, to potentialize the healing process.
During your subsequent visits I will:
Reassess your condition.
Provide Manual Osteopathic treatment.
Redesign your home-care and treatment plan.
Frequently asked questions
I haven't been doing my Home Routines
with consistency or at all...
Can I still come for a session?
Please do so. It is true that our treatments will be more effective if you have been doing your Home Routines with consistency, but being "on top of it" is certainly not a requirement for requesting or attending to subsequent visits.
It would be very useful to find the right amount of "work load" that will still challenge your body structures in a good way, without making you feel exhausted or overwhelmed. If necessary, we could redesign your routines to better suit your time, energy, work/family demand or any change in your lifestyle or physical condition.
Remember, you are always welcome.
And we are always happy to help.
Is it ok?
If I walk, run, do Yoga, cycle, hike, do a heavy work out...
This is a great question. When it comes to the DOs or the DO NOTs of rehabilitation in terms of physical activities, it is important to note that:
It is not so much about WHAT you do, but more so about HOW you do it.
In other words, if you are walking, HOW are you walking? Are you activating the "J" to improve symmetrical activation and avoid movement inefficiency?
If you are doing Yoga, are you warming up and releasing any muscle "knots" or excessive hypertonicity prior to stretching your myofascial structures?
Are you activating "The Thread" when sitting, standing, walking, cooking, washing the dishes, practicing Tai Chi and so on?
COROLLARY: Try to integrate your Home Routines into ALL your daily activities. HOW? Well, we all find a different way to do it. Thus, you will end up finding your own way. However, if you need some help to begin with, please visit our "Integration" section on our Home Routines webpage.
Thank you for reading! We hope this information was helpful to you.
If you have any questions, please contact us.