Where is your psoas? Discover its location and function.

Where is your psoas? Discover its location and function.

The psoas muscle is one of the most vital muscles in the human body, primarily known for its relation to lower back pain. It is an unusual muscle as it spans several joints, including the spine, hip, and pelvis. In fact, it is the only muscle that connects the spine to the lower body, making it one of the most complex muscles in your body. Understanding the location and function of your psoas will give you insight into how it affects your body’s overall wellbeing.

What is the Psoas Muscle?

The psoas muscle is the combination of the iliacus muscle and the psoas major muscle. It is one of the most important muscles in the human body, stretching from the lumbar vertebrae down to the femur. It has a central role in core strength, hip flexibility, and overall body balance, ensuring that our movements are coordinated and efficient.

Where is the Psoas Muscle Located in the Body?

The psoas muscle lies deep inside the abdominal cavity, and runs on either side of the lumbar spine, attaching to the lumbar vertebrae and down to the femur. It runs very close to the spinal cord, which makes it particularly important in the transmission of nerve signals. When it exerts excessive stress on the spine, it can cause chronic lower back pain.

Psoas Function

The main function of the psoas muscle is anchoring the lower body and the upper body to produce joint movement. By stabilizing the spine and creating resistance in opposition to movement, it helps keep the back straight and in alignment. It also helps maintain posture by creating hip flexion, supporting the hip joint, and assisting in walking, running, and jumping.

In addition, it is responsible for relieving tension on the lower back and supporting the abdominal muscles. As a result, it functions to support and protect the organs of the abdominal and pelvic regions from shock and vibration.

The Importance of Psoas Muscle

The psoas muscle is commonly referred to as the “hidden prankster” because of its largely underestimated role in the movement and alignment of the body. The psoas muscle serves as a correlation between the upper and lower body, helping to maintain stability and mobility in both of these areas. This essential muscle also helps to cushion the spine and to avert injuries to the lumbar area.

Moreover, the psoas muscle modulates breathing patterns and tension in the diaphragm, leading to a reduction in anxiety, tightness, and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. Proper breathing techniques can assist in maintaining a healthy psoas muscle.

Lower Back Pain and Psoas

One of the most common reasons for lower back pain is a compromised psoas muscle. Long periods of sitting, physical inactivity, and bad habits can lead to a poorly functioning psoas muscle resulting in continuous pain. This can be because when the psoas becomes tight or stretched, it directly impacts the position and stability of the spine.

When this occurs, the spine doesn’t receive appropriate support, and muscle imbalances ensue. As the muscles start compensating for the psoas muscle, the risk of chronic back pain rises. Therefore, keeping the psoas relaxed and balanced is essential to maintaining overall physical health.

How to Stretch the Psoas Muscle?

Stretching the psoas on a regular basis can assist in restoring flexibility and avoiding complications that arise from tightness of the muscle. Below are some of the exercises you can engage in to maintain a healthy psoas muscle.

Deep Lunge Hip Flexor Stretch: Get on your knees and step forward with one leg bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your other foot in front of the opposite knee, keeping the knee bent. Keep your back straight and slowly lower your elbows to the surface, moving your weight forward onto your front leg. Hold this posture for at least 30 seconds before alternating sides.

One-Legged Psoas Stretch: Sit with one leg extended out ahead of you, toes pointing upward. Bend your other leg, then use your hands to lift your thigh to your chest, keeping your lower leg resting over the thigh. Slowly release and repeat on the opposite side.

Psoas Release Technique: Lie on your stomach with a ball beneath your hip flexor. As you turn your body closer to one side or the other, you will feel a deep stretch in the front of your hip.


The psoas muscle is an extremely crucial muscle that connects the upper body to the lower body. It is imperative to comprehend the function and location of your psoas muscle to maintain your body’s balance and coordination. Understanding that the lack of flexibility in the psoas muscle can lead to lower back pain is essential in taking care of your overall physical health.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is the psoas muscle?
A: This muscle is a combination of the iliacus muscle and the psoas major muscle that spans from the lumbar vertebrae down to the femur.

Q: What is the function of the psoas muscle?
A: The psoas muscle anchors the upper and lower body during joint movement and is essential in maintaining good posture and alignment.

Q: Where is the psoas muscle located in the body?
A: The psoas muscle is located deep inside the abdominal cavity and runs on either side of the lumbar spine.

Q: What is the connection between the psoas muscle and lower back pain?
A: When the psoas muscle becomes tight or stretched, it directly impacts the alignment and stability of the spine, causing lower back pain.


Danebrook, C. (2019). Psoas 101: Tight Hip Flexor Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. Healthline.

Bartley, J. (2017). Tight psoas muscles: another misunderstood cause of pain. Harvard Health Publishing.

Murray, J. (2021). Psoas stretches: how to stretch the psoas muscle. Medical News Today.

Manuel, G. (2018). Understanding the Psoas Major Muscle in Yoga, Athletics, and Functional Movement. Yoga Journal.

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