Q: Is it possible that my therapist possibly injured my psoas? I already had L4-L5 instability and now it is much worse after my massage; my back has pain and my leg is weak. I slowly recovered but a month after the massage and another gentle psoas release, I am back where I was;  with my spine instability, weak left leg, pain in the upper buttocks and pain in the left groin. What should I do?

A: Palpation of the iliopsoas is due to a misunderstanding of its function, is uncalled for and in my opinion detrimental for resolving the original injury or trauma.  When a therapist “works on” or trigger points the psoas they do so because the muscle is tight and they hope to release its tension pattern.  However they do not understand that it is tight for a reason and that as bio-intelligent tissue, the psoas is protecting a deeper injury and dysfunction – most often overstretched or torn ligaments.  Manually releasing the tissue often bruises the supple, dynamic and expressive  psoas and may retraumatize the already vulnerable core.  If their is “relief”,  it is short lived.

The psoas protects the midline and is simply a messenger – so don’t shoot the messenger! When ligaments are torn or over stretched, the psoas compensates to protect midline integrity (the central nervous system).  It is tight for a reason and over time, due to misuse, can become dry and shrink, thus causing even more sensations of tension. However, as soon as the original dysfunction is resolved, the tissue we call psoas will let go.  Invasive, direct, and even “gentle” psoas manipulations go against the muscle’s natural defense response. As part of the flight/fight and freeze response, such approaches can drive the original dysfunction deeper.

To recover, I recommend constructive rest position every day, and suggest that you read my books, articles or tele-classes to understand how to heal your original imbalance or injury.  A workshop or retreat will provide direct experience in rebalancing and healing the spinal injuries while you regain a supple dynamic psoas muscle.