My Psoas and I
Since my fall in September of 2015 the muscles in my core have gone completely crazy on me !!
The combination of pain in the bones (pelvis and hip area) and accompanying muscle pain has had a significant impact on my day to day life. A bone scan several months ago confirmed a problematic facet joint as well as potential fusion beginning in my SI Joint. Cortisol Steroid injections in both areas gave 3 brief weeks of relief.
Then the muscle pain starts in. Ouch. Starting on one side and giving a rather violent stab of pain when I so much as reach, swivel, or basically do anything that causes my mid section to move. Lifting my legs to walk, reaching for a cup of coffee, brushing my hair . . . anything will trigger it.
Imagine that for a moment – violent pain caused each and every time you use a muscle in your midsection.
Of course I have good days and bad days. I’ve learned to recognize when I’m close to triggering the spasms and need to relax and stabilize myself. I’ve also learned that I am the only one that can help myself. Stretching out these deep internal muscles is the only way to move forward with the life that I want to live. A life filled with travel and adventure.
So I’ve spent a lot of time online reading about these muscles. The Hip Flexors, also known as the Psoas, is one of the longest muscles in the body. It’s actually the ONLY muscle that connects the upper and lower body. It controls balance, our ability to sit, stand, twist, reach, bend, walk and step.
And THAT is the muscle that has turned on me. It’s enraged actually. It punishes me for every misstep or wrong move. It reminds me constantly that IT is in control.
The Psoas and Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It is the most common motor disability in childhood.
The cause can be abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain. I’ve had it explained to as simply “an insult to the brain”. Symptoms vary greatly from person to person. Some my need lifelong care while others might just walk a little awkwardly.
I always considered myself in the latter category. I found that pushing myself to work out and keep moving was the #1 best medicine on the planet.
While CP does not “get worse” over time, people with Cerebral Palsy face a more difficult aging process than they would otherwise. Difficulties arise when children outgrow their pediatric care and are faced with becoming their own advocates in a complex medical system. As we age the typical aches and pains are magnified after a lifetime of moving awkwardly.
The Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation published an article titled “Validity of gait parameters for hip flexor contracture in patients with Cerebral Palsy”.
The study confirmed that patients with Cerebral Palsy show a shorter Psoas length and smaller maximum hip extension in stance. Patients with CP shoed a shorter maximum Psoas length, larger pelvic tilt, and more sagittal pelvic motion than the normal group.
The study also confirmed that the estimated Psoas length could be improved after a femoral derotation osteotomy. I had this procedure on my left side at the age of 12. I’ve noted the sharp stabs of pain to be far more prevalent on my right side.
I am certain that my Cerebral Palsy has contributed to the difficulties I am now facing with my Psoas.
Unlock Your Hip Flexors
I bought “Unlock Your Hip Flexors” – written by injury specialist Rick Kaselj & Mike Westerdal (CPT).
The book gives a thorough introduction to the anatomy and biomechanics of the hip flexors. It describes the bone structure and muscle function before arriving at the Psoas.
The books goes on to describe how a lifetime of sitting can tighten this muscle, and the affect that it can have on your emotional well being and sex life. Yes, sex life.
With over 40 pages of discussion this book is a great eye-opener for what you may not even realize is affect on your life.
The exercises in this book focus on using not only the right exercises but the “right sequence of techniques to unlock the tension and tightness in muscles to properly solve the problem.”
Accompanied by videos to ensure users are using proper posture and technique, this is an excellent source of information and guidance to stretch out the “Hidden Survival Muscle.”