The Hip-Flexors are often forgotten during a massage therapy treatment and can contribute to lower
back pain. Throughout my practice I have had clients with low back discomfort (stemming from a variety of reasons) that have found relief by incorporating treatment to the group of muscles known as the Hip-Flexors. This muscle group passes the anterior hip and one of the muscles (Rectus Femoris) attach to form the Quadricep muscle group.
Another muscle within the Hip-Flexor group known as Psoas, attaches to the posterior spine and femur bone. The Psoas can become very tight because of the shortened position we have it in during a seated position. Let's face it, we all spend a lot of time seated. Whether it's in the car, at the desk or at home watching TV we all sit for longer than necessary at some point throughout our week. We often forget to stretch this group of muscles thoroughly which could be why that stubborn lower back pain keeps persisting.
The hips are also a center where we hold a lot of emotions ( anger and anxiety being the main ones ). It's important to note that having work done to the Hip-Flexors can create an emotional release as well as reduced muscle tension. I truly believe our physical and mental are interconnected, having been able to help many clients decrease Hip-Flexor tightness I have also been a witness to emotional releases that coincided as well.
My personal favourite stretch for the Hip-Flexors is known as "The Runner’s lunge”
1) Begin by kneeling on both knees.
2) Draw one leg ahead to have the foot on the floor at a 90 degree angle while the other is still kneeling on the ground. (Non-active lunge position)
3) Gently and slowly lean forward. (You should feel a stretch in the lower abdomen and front of the leg.)
4) This can be an incredibly sensitive area for people. Remember to breathe slowly and take your time!
5) If you feel you are able to go deeper in the stretch bend the kneeling leg and reach behind with the same arm to bring your heel to your gluteal muscle. (View photo above.)
As I said before the treatment for Psoas / hip flexors can be uncomfortable. Keep at it, your hips and lower back will thank you for it. If you decide to have a therapist treat your Hip-Flexors they will work around your Iliac Crest (hip bone) and deep into the lower abdomen. Stay in communication with your therapist as to where your tolerance lies.