When a client comes into my clinic with pain, my primary goal is to find the source. This requires a full assessment of their entire body, and not necessarily just in the area where the pain is presented. Pain and discomfort is the body’s way of communicating that something is wrong and as an RMT, I know these pains often stem from an alignment issue.
Would you believe me if I told you that head, neck, shoulder and back pain can come from restrictions in our abdomen? It’s certainly not the first place we expect to look when we feel strain in our neck, for example. But what is brilliant about the body is that it is a complete, interconnected system. Even our abdominal cavity can transfer pain to other parts. The neck pain is the impact, but the abdomen is the source.
Allow me to introduce you to the psoas (pronounced SO-as) muscle, found deep in your abdomen. This muscle isn’t referenced in your spin class and it isn’t even fifth of the list of core muscles referenced by trainers, but it is one of the most essential muscles in the human body. Your psoas is the deepest muscle in your core and the only muscle that connects your spine to your legs.
Without the psoas, you wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning, let alone lift your legs high when running. The psoas muscles are made of both slow and fast twitching muscles. Because they are major flexors, a weak psoas muscle will force the surrounding muscles to kick into high gear to compensate. The result? Those surrounding muscles get overused causing aches and pains, including pelvis and lower back pain.
By elongating and releasing the psoas muscle, it will provide relief to the areas it was impacting, such as the neck pain referenced earlier. Oftentimes, I am able to relieve my client’s pain by releasing their psoas and not even touching the area that is presenting pain.
Is your body a mysterious, complex wonderland? Absolutely.