David R. Beatty and Camilia Makyhoun

David R. Beatty, DO, Professor of Osteopathic Principles and Practice, WVSOM

Camilia Makyhoun, Assistant Editor, WVSOM Class of 2016

Thursday, February 28, 2013


The psoas muscle is a hip flexor that
causes low back and thigh pain (WVSOM)

... you probably have psoas ("so-as") syndrome if not a herniated lumbar disc. The former is easily treatable with self-administered manipulation, the latter not so much. An easy way to tell the difference at home is the direction of bending forward : Bending toward the side of back and leg pain is usually due to psoas muscle spasm; Bending away from the side of pain is most often to reduce pressure on a painful disc.

DOCTOR'S NOTE: Back and leg pain making it hard to stand up straight needs to be evaluated by a health professional if the pain makes you bend away from the side of pain.


Right psoas position of ease (WVSOM)

  1. Lie on your back with legs propped up on a chair or stool;
  2. Cross your ankles with the foot on the side of the back or pelvic pain on top;
  3. Allow your knees to fall apart;
  4. If comfortable, take a few deep breaths and rest in this position for 2-5 minutes;
  5. Slowly uncross your legs, bring your feet down to the floor, and proceed to the Psoas Stretch or roll to one side before getting up;
  6. Use this position 2-4 times a day, or as needed for pain relief.

Left psoas stretch (WVSOM)
  1. Kneel with one foot on the floor a few feet in front of the other knee;
  2. Slowly lean forward onto the leg in front while using your hand to push the other hip forward;
  3. Take a few deep breaths and stretch for 10-20 seconds;
  4. Repeat for the other side;
  5. If no increase in pain, proceed to the Thoracolumbar Mobilization;


    Thoracolumbar mobilization (WVSOM)
  1. Sit with your legs straight and hands on the floor behind you;
  2. Bend one knee and place the opposite arm against the outside of the bent leg;
  3. Slowly turn your trunk toward the bent leg as far as it will comfortably go while pushing the arm into the leg;
  4. Add a short quick push of the arm into the leg to twist the trunk slightly farther. If the upper low back doesn't pop, move the hand on the floor a little farther away from or closer to the back of the hip and repeat the short quick trunk twist;
  5. Repeat to the other side;
  6. Do this mobilization up to twice a day. 

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