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A way forward with my psoas major and running :(

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Hello and viva!

I'm a 35 year old male who's experienced back tightness at most times for the last three to five years. I have been involved in athletics since high school and completed ROTC in college, and had pounded the pavement regularly for ~15 years for Navy P.T., stopping about two years ago and opting for alternative exercises such as swimming, lifting, elliptical, etc. Have tried treadmill, but get knotted up and feel out of sync within the first 0.5 miles. So aggravating and actually - devastating.

This is my first post and a bit of a shot in the dark. I'm aware back pain affects a large number of Americans and that my question may have been answered in another form elsewhere. I will look into other posts, but your advice is very important to me in order to determine my way forward.

Questions:

1. Is ART (Active Release Techniques) or sports massage a better alternative to chiro? Should I seek to lengthen this psoas problem? Mens' Health said that it had fixed one guy lickety split.

2. Should I use a hard ball (like a lacrosse ball) and direct pressure to my psoas area to try and help alleviate pain? Heard this from a friend.

3. Do most adults have a small twist in their spine? Could that be my major issue - or is it a red herring?

Issue: I do miss running and would like very much to continue, but the level of back spasms in my lower right back and the feeling that something is awry prevents me from going forward with it. My quality of life and medical readiness is suffering by not being able to fully participate in the exercises I want to do.

Discussion:

- Was prescribed orthotics 1 year ago by the VA Hospital with a +0.9 cm lift in my right foot to correct a leg length discrepancy. Was told I had a tight psoas major. I thought they would completely resolve the tightness, but they have not.

- Was told to quit tobacco products, which I have struggled with on and off.

- Visited chiropractor for ~ monthly adjustments for nearly 2.5 years, which alleviates the pain temporarily. During my treatment, he ordinarily has me lie down on my left side, with my knees drawn up, and then presses down on them.

- Chiro showed me the correction in my hips that had been assisted by my orthotics since beginning my adjustments. Hips were not level over a year ago, but now are.

- Chiro doc also showed me a slight twist in my lower spine, I think that's normal but am not sure. It is a few degrees rotated to one side, not sure which. I am currently looking for a new chiro doc for various reasons.

- I sometimes take muscle relaxants when it becomes unbearable.

- I experience regular cracking and popping in my back. I have to twist my trunk regularly face-down on my bed, using the steering wheel, or lying flat to feel a brief release that happens with a "pop".

My deeply heartfelt thanks for any initial advice.
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First Helper myopracticworks
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replied February 20th, 2013
Active User, very eHealthy
Quote:
had pounded the pavement regularly for ~15 years for Navy P.T., stopping about two years ago and opting for alternative exercises such as swimming, lifting, elliptical, etc.

Except as you found out, this does not fix the problem which prevents you from running. Eventually doing even these things can become painfull as you deteriorate more.
Quote:
1. Is ART (Active Release Techniques) or sports massage a better alternative to chiro? Should I seek to lengthen this psoas problem?

Read Pavel Tsatsouline's book on stretching. He (and I from exeperince) think ART is NOT effective. Pavel has better techniques like "waiting it out" and "The Pink Panther" where you press hard against resistance and then immediately release. Letting the resistance push your stretch further.
Sports massage is not focused enough. Something like "Structural Energetics" massage is designing to identify and remove muscles imbalances. I have had the best luck with "neurofascial release" but IME will never get better without doing exercises on your own.
In you case, you could ask a massage professional to "release your psoas".
Considering your "short" right leg you DEFINITELY should be releasing your right psoas muscle. Not only can it make one leg appear to be longer, it can alaso put a twist into your lower back. Here are 4 ways to do it.
1) "Supine Groin Stretch (Do a Google search)
2) "Progressive Groin Stretch (Do a Google Search)
3) "Front splits" with hips squared to the front.
- Squeezing your glutes wil strengthen them and help the psoas to release.
4) "Kneeling lunge stretch"

You should also strengthen the psoas muscles opposing muscle groups. That is the gluteal muscles and "tranverse abdominus"

Quote:
2. Should I use a hard ball (like a lacrosse ball) and direct pressure to my psoas area to try and help alleviate pain?

Some people like this method and Al Meilus in Florida even invented a robot so you can do it on yourself. Others say pressing through your intestines can damage them. The stretches 1-4 I listed above are safer and IME, just as effective.
Quote:
3. Do most adults have a small twist in their spine? Could that be my major issue - or is it a red herring?

"Most" does not make it right. Half of the discs fibers spiral to the right and the other have spiral to the left. A twist in your lower back could signify some of your disc's fiber have torn. They WILL NOT heal until you get these twisting torque out of your hips.
I lie on my back in "STATIC BACK " position (Do a Google search) and put a ball under ONE side of my lower back to arch the "flat side".
You can do "STATIC EXTENSION ON ELBOWS" (Do a Google search) and make sure to pinch both shoulder together. You will find a twist in your hips will create a counter-twist in your shoulders.
Quote:
Was prescribed orthotics 1 year ago by the VA Hospital with a +0.9 cm lift in my right foot to correct a leg length discrepancy. Was told I had a tight psoas major. I thought they would completely resolve the tightness, but they have not.

Not surprising. Jacking up one leg doesn't resolver the tight psoas which is the TRUE CAUSE of 98% of high hip cases.
|
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Users who thank myopracticworks for this post: Gospel_Elvis 

replied February 20th, 2013
Active User, very eHealthy
Quote:
had pounded the pavement regularly for ~15 years for Navy P.T., stopping about two years ago and opting for alternative exercises such as swimming, lifting, elliptical, etc.

Except as you found out, this does not fix the problem which prevents you from running. Eventually doing even these things can become painfull as you deteriorate more.
Quote:
1. Is ART (Active Release Techniques) or sports massage a better alternative to chiro? Should I seek to lengthen this psoas problem?

Read Pavel Tsatsouline's book on stretching. He (and I from exeperince) think ART is NOT effective. Pavel has better techniques like "waiting it out" and "The Pink Panther" where you press hard against resistance and then immediately release. Letting the resistance push your stretch further.
Sports massage is not focused enough. Something like "Structural Energetics" massage is designing to identify and remove muscles imbalances. I have had the best luck with "neurofascial release" but IME will never get better without doing exercises on your own.
In you case, you could ask a massage professional to "release your psoas".
Considering your "short" right leg you DEFINITELY should be releasing your right psoas muscle. Not only can it make one leg appear to be longer, it can alaso put a twist into your lower back. Here are 4 ways to do it.
1) "Supine Groin Stretch (Do a Google search)
2) "Progressive Groin Stretch (Do a Google Search)
3) "Front splits" with hips squared to the front.
- Squeezing your glutes wil strengthen them and help the psoas to release.
4) "Kneeling lunge stretch"

You should also strengthen the psoas muscles opposing muscle groups. That is the gluteal muscles and "tranverse abdominus"

Quote:
2. Should I use a hard ball (like a lacrosse ball) and direct pressure to my psoas area to try and help alleviate pain?

Some people like this method and Al Meilus in Florida even invented a robot so you can do it on yourself. Others say pressing through your intestines can damage them. The stretches 1-4 I listed above are safer and IME, just as effective.
Quote:
3. Do most adults have a small twist in their spine? Could that be my major issue - or is it a red herring?

"Most" does not make it right. Half of the discs fibers spiral to the right and the other have spiral to the left. A twist in your lower back could signify some of your disc's fiber have torn. They WILL NOT heal until you get these twisting torque out of your hips.
I lie on my back in "STATIC BACK " position (Do a Google search) and put a ball under ONE side of my lower back to arch the "flat side".
You can do "STATIC EXTENSION ON ELBOWS" (Do a Google search) and make sure to pinch both shoulder together. You will find a twist in your hips will create a counter-twist in your shoulders.
Quote:
Was prescribed orthotics 1 year ago by the VA Hospital with a +0.9 cm lift in my right foot to correct a leg length discrepancy. Was told I had a tight psoas major. I thought they would completely resolve the tightness, but they have not.

Not surprising. Jacking up one leg doesn't resolver the tight psoas which is the TRUE CAUSE of 98% of high hip cases.
|
Did you find this post helpful?
Users who thank myopracticworks for this post: Gospel_Elvis 

replied February 20th, 2013
Active User, very eHealthy
Quote:
had pounded the pavement regularly for ~15 years for Navy P.T., stopping about two years ago and opting for alternative exercises such as swimming, lifting, elliptical, etc.

Except as you found out, this does not fix the problem which prevents you from running. Eventually doing even these things can become painfull as you deteriorate more.
Quote:
1. Is ART (Active Release Techniques) or sports massage a better alternative to chiro? Should I seek to lengthen this psoas problem?

Read Pavel Tsatsouline's book on stretching. He (and I from exeperince) think ART is NOT effective. Pavel has better techniques like "waiting it out" and "The Pink Panther" where you press hard against resistance and then immediately release. Letting the resistance push your stretch further.
Sports massage is not focused enough. Something like "Structural Energetics" massage is designing to identify and remove muscles imbalances. I have had the best luck with "neurofascial release" but IME will never get better without doing exercises on your own.
In you case, you could ask a massage professional to "release your psoas".
Considering your "short" right leg you DEFINITELY should be releasing your right psoas muscle. Not only can it make one leg appear to be longer, it can alaso put a twist into your lower back. Here are 4 ways to do it.
1) "Supine Groin Stretch (Do a Google search)
2) "Progressive Groin Stretch (Do a Google Search)
3) "Front splits" with hips squared to the front.
- Squeezing your glutes wil strengthen them and help the psoas to release.
4) "Kneeling lunge stretch"

You should also strengthen the psoas muscles opposing muscle groups. That is the gluteal muscles and "tranverse abdominus"

Quote:
2. Should I use a hard ball (like a lacrosse ball) and direct pressure to my psoas area to try and help alleviate pain?

Some people like this method and Al Meilus in Florida even invented a robot so you can do it on yourself. Others say pressing through your intestines can damage them. The stretches 1-4 I listed above are safer and IME, just as effective.
Quote:
3. Do most adults have a small twist in their spine? Could that be my major issue - or is it a red herring?

"Most" does not make it right. Half of the discs fibers spiral to the right and the other have spiral to the left. A twist in your lower back could signify some of your disc's fiber have torn. They WILL NOT heal until you get these twisting torque out of your hips.
I lie on my back in "STATIC BACK " position (Do a Google search) and put a ball under ONE side of my lower back to arch the "flat side".
You can do "STATIC EXTENSION ON ELBOWS" (Do a Google search) and make sure to pinch both shoulder together. You will find a twist in your hips will create a counter-twist in your shoulders.
Quote:
Was prescribed orthotics 1 year ago by the VA Hospital with a +0.9 cm lift in my right foot to correct a leg length discrepancy. Was told I had a tight psoas major. I thought they would completely resolve the tightness, but they have not.

Not surprising. Jacking up one leg doesn't resolver the tight psoas which is the TRUE CAUSE of 98% of high hip cases.
|
Did you find this post helpful?
Users who thank myopracticworks for this post: Gospel_Elvis 

replied February 20th, 2013
Active User, very eHealthy
Quote:
had pounded the pavement regularly for ~15 years for Navy P.T., stopping about two years ago and opting for alternative exercises such as swimming, lifting, elliptical, etc.

Except as you found out, this does not fix the problem which prevents you from running. Eventually doing even these things can become painfull as you deteriorate more.
Quote:
1. Is ART (Active Release Techniques) or sports massage a better alternative to chiro? Should I seek to lengthen this psoas problem?

Read Pavel Tsatsouline's book on stretching. He (and I from exeperince) think ART is NOT effective. Pavel has better techniques like "waiting it out" and "The Pink Panther" where you press hard against resistance and then immediately release. Letting the resistance push your stretch further.
Sports massage is not focused enough. Something like "Structural Energetics" massage is designing to identify and remove muscles imbalances. I have had the best luck with "neurofascial release" but IME will never get better without doing exercises on your own.
In you case, you could ask a massage professional to "release your psoas".
Considering your "short" right leg you DEFINITELY should be releasing your right psoas muscle. Not only can it make one leg appear to be longer, it can alaso put a twist into your lower back. Here are 4 ways to do it.
1) "Supine Groin Stretch (Do a Google search)
2) "Progressive Groin Stretch (Do a Google Search)
3) "Front splits" with hips squared to the front.
- Squeezing your glutes wil strengthen them and help the psoas to release.
4) "Kneeling lunge stretch"

You should also strengthen the psoas muscles opposing muscle groups. That is the gluteal muscles and "tranverse abdominus"

Quote:
2. Should I use a hard ball (like a lacrosse ball) and direct pressure to my psoas area to try and help alleviate pain?

Some people like this method and Al Meilus in Florida even invented a robot so you can do it on yourself. Others say pressing through your intestines can damage them. The stretches 1-4 I listed above are safer and IME, just as effective.
Quote:
3. Do most adults have a small twist in their spine? Could that be my major issue - or is it a red herring?

"Most" does not make it right. Half of the discs fibers spiral to the right and the other have spiral to the left. A twist in your lower back could signify some of your disc's fiber have torn. They WILL NOT heal until you get these twisting torque out of your hips.
I lie on my back in "STATIC BACK " position (Do a Google search) and put a ball under ONE side of my lower back to arch the "flat side".
You can do "STATIC EXTENSION ON ELBOWS" (Do a Google search) and make sure to pinch both shoulder together. You will find a twist in your hips will create a counter-twist in your shoulders.
Quote:
Was prescribed orthotics 1 year ago by the VA Hospital with a +0.9 cm lift in my right foot to correct a leg length discrepancy. Was told I had a tight psoas major. I thought they would completely resolve the tightness, but they have not.

Not surprising. Jacking up one leg doesn't resolver the tight psoas which is the TRUE CAUSE of 98% of high hip cases.
|
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User Profile
replied February 21st, 2013
Thank you so very much.

I hope others will also find your reply informative and useful. I hope I will be able to return to light jogging over time.

I'll try to report back in a few months.
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replied February 23rd, 2013
Active User, very eHealthy
Gospel_Elvis, you're welcome. The difficulty is getting people to even TRY these exercises. If they did, I think they would get some relief.

I made a mistake. You should be stretching the psoas (hip flexor) muscle on the HIGH hip side. Not the low hip side.

Quote:
Chiro doc also showed me a slight twist in my lower spine,

If one of your hip flexors (psoas muscle) is tighter than the other, you will not get equal leg extension when you run. The motion has to come from somewhere, so your hips may take on a twist when you run to give the extra extension on your tight hip side.

I forgot to mention 2 other good exercises for twisted hips.

For high hip:
1) gravity drop e-cise" (Do a Google search)**
- You want to work at letting the heel of the high hip side drop down.

For twisted hips:
2) "triangle pose exercise" (Do a Google search)**
- Like the link EXCEPT you must do this against the wall so you can feel the twist in your hips.


* This website will not allow me to post direct links as they consider it advertising.
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