Psoas Low Back Pain

Core strength. Flat abs. Low back Health. You have heard all these buzz words and likely read a thing or two about the best way to achieve them.  But one aspect of low back health you may not have thought about is a major muscle that makes a big difference.  It’s called the Psoas.  Psoas low back pain is not something you have to live with.

The psoas is a large muscle that attaches to the front of the lumbar spine and then to your pelvis and femur bone.  It is responsible for flexing your legs past 30 degrees.  This muscle can either be a great “team player” in symmetrically activating your pelvic muscles, or it can play havoc on your low back alignment, causing extras stress and pressure on the lumbar spine.  It is very important, therefore, to select exercises and movements that don’t cause you to overuse your psoas and cause injury.

One very common exercise that should not be performed is the classic abdominal “Crunch”.  This can cause psoas low back pain in some cases.This exercise consists of bringing your knees to your chest from a laying position; commonly this is called a Sit-Up.  The reason this is a terrible exercise is because the abdominal muscle are only active for the first 30 degrees of the exercise.  After that, the psoas muscle contracts.  When the psoas muscle contracts in this position, is exerts tremendous forces on the low back, potentially causing injury to spinal discs and ligaments.  The force from the psoas causes compressive forces to the lumbar discs, which can cause them to fail, resulting in a bulging or herniated disc.  Who would have though a simple Sit-Up could be so dangerous?

Want an alternative? Check out the Cross Cut Abdominal exercise in our video below:

A few exercises can be implemented to prevent excessive stress to the low back.  But as always, talk with one of our doctors before beginning any new exercise routines.  You may have a structural shift that must be addressed first before it is safe to perform certain exercises.

The pelvic tilt is the first exercise that should be mastered.  It is a simple exercise but uses many key abdominal muscles.  Begin here if you are just starting out.  Next, a modified abdominal crunch on an exercise ball is a great way to still activate the core stabilizing muscles.  Be sure to limit the crunch to no more than 30 degrees flexion.  Lastly, an isometric abdominal bridge is also recommended to increase endurance, strength and stability.  The bridge will help your stabilizing muscle work more efficiently.


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Diagnostic Blood work and Chiropractic Care

Did you know that Doctors of Chiropractic are trained to interpret diagnostic blood work?  Diagnostic blood work and saliva testing is a viable and valuable tool for Chiropractors to use when assessing general health and investigating the underlying cause of a variety of conditions.  Our office is able to order lab work for things that include basic and advanced diagnostic blood work and saliva testing.  But why would a chiropractor order lab work?  What does this have to do with the spine?

Our doctors are experts in dealing with the structural components of the body.  When our doctors treat a patient’s worrisome area or chief complaint, there are things that must be ruled out.  Most often, it is caused by an area of the spine that shifts out of alignment (a structural shift).   But there are other factors that can perpetuate a problem, such as underlying inflammation or autoimmune issues. Without knowing what’s within a normal range, the doctor is unable to discern what is the primary cause of an individual’s health concern.  This is where a diagnostic blood work or saliva testing can become very useful.

Our doctors not only assess a person’s range of motion, muscle strength, neurologic function and structural alignment, but can also determine if hormones, nutrients, and minerals are part of the problem.  Some test are as easy as getting a saliva sample and having it sent off for analyzing.

Reasons to have Diagnostic blood work done

Common reasons our doctors would recommend diagnostic lab tests would be: testing for inflammation in the body, autoimmune blood markers for thyroid disease, gluten sensitivity (celiac disease), arthritis, testing for nutrient deficiency, and toxic heavy metals.  If found, these issues must be addressed to fully restore optimal health.

What can be done if results are abnormal

If a problem is found with testing, there are many options to address a problem and bring the lab work back to a normal range. Many times this includes a temporary whole food supplement or herb designed to restore health along with any necessary adjustments to the spine.  The most important thing to remember is that our doctors want to gather as much information about your health concerns in order to find the best solution and not simply cover up your symptoms.   Let our staff or doctors know if you have any questions or if you are interested in a particular diagnostic blood work or saliva test.

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