This muscle may be the key to low back pain

Low back pain has been the leading cause of disability. 8% of all adults have low back pain limiting their daily activities. Back pain is also the 6th most costly condition in the United States. Many people have low back pain from sitting for long periods of time. Another cause can simply be poor posture and weak or poor activation of key core stabilizing muscles during your daily activities. Both of these can force your psoas to take on extra work as it stabilizes your back. In red below is a picture of where the psoas muscle is inside your body. There are exercises you can do to help take the stress off your psoas and stop it from pulling on your low back!!

Exercises for preventing low back pain:

1. Psoas stretch: go into half kneeling, perform a posterior pelvic tilt where you tuck your belly button behind you. This helps to support your low back while you are stretching. Then move forward by bending your front knee slightly. You should feel a stretch in the front of your hip in the leg which is behind you.

2. Supine straight leg raise: This exercise is great to do before other activities or core strengthening. It helps you activate your deeper core muscles that provide support to your back. Lie on your back with both knees bent and again provide a slight posterior pelvic tilt (described above). Breathe in and then as you breath out contract your core muscles as you lift up your leg.

3. Paloff press: Stand with a band pulling from the side of you. Press the band forward to fully extend your arms and then bend your arms to return to starting position. Keep your knees slightly bent. The goal is to prevent your body from rotating when you press the band away from you.

4. Chop and lift: Go into half kneeling. Take a weight in both hands. Cross the weight up across the chest and to the opposite side. Then lower back down in a diagonal towards the floor.

If these do not help your low back then reach out to a physical therapist to see if there are other things that may be affecting your low back.


Chronic back pain. Health Policy Institute. Published February 13, 2019. Accessed January 25, 2022.

Williamson OD, Cameron P. The global burden of low back pain. International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP).,significant%20global%20public%20health%20concern. Published October 12, 2021. Accessed January 25, 2022.

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