October is Psoas month at Altius
One reason it is important to maintain the length of the psoas is that most of the large nerves that come out of our low back spine have to run through this muscle. These are the nerves to our internal organs, pelvic organs, and many of the major nerves to our legs. If there is tension in the area these nerves can be compressed as they travel through the muscles. Because of this, a tight psoas can cause seemingly unrelated symptoms including back pain, leg pain, hip pain, bladder pain, pelvic pain, and digestive issues. It can also contribute to PMS symptoms.
The two psoas muscles (right and left) attach to the front sides of each of the vertebrae bones in the low back. At their top end, these muscles also attach to the lowest rib and connect to the diaphragm (our big breathing muscle) at that spot. At their lower end, the muscles cross through the pelvis and connect near the tops of the femurs (leg bones). They are the only muscles that attach to the spine at one end and the leg on the other; other muscles attach between the spine and pelvis or between the pelvis and the leg.
The psoas can become short and tight from excessive time spent sitting. It will shorten if a person sleeps on their side because of how the legs are positioned. And it can become tight if it is used as a primary stabilizing muscle for the spine. Generally, the back and stomach muscles are responsible for stabilizing the spine and trunk. However, if these muscles are weak or inhibited, the psoas can help stabilize the spine because it has attachment points to all of the lumbar spine vertebrae.