Iliopsoas Anatomy

Iliopsoas Dysfunction: Anatomy, Symptoms and Treatments

In Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy by Stephanie Prendergast and Elizabeth RummerLeave a Comment

By Stephanie A. Prendergast, MPT, Cofounder, PHRC Los Angeles and Elizabeth Akincilar, MSPT, Cofounder, PHRC Merrimack


Optimal pelvic health and biomechanics involves the iliopsoas muscle. When this muscle is not functioning properly pelvic, hip and and back pain can become a problem.

The psoas muscle portion originates from T12/L1. It is a powerful hip flexor and it helps to laterally flex the trunk. The psoas muscle joins up with the Iliacus muscle which also helps externally rotate the hip.

The iliopsoas, along with other muscles of the hip and pelvis, help support normal hip labral function and core stability during movement and exercise.

The iliopsoas rests in a shortened position when we sit. It is important to stand and move for many reasons, iliopsoas health is one of them!


Symptoms Iliopsoas Dysfunctions


Prolonged sitting is a leading cause of iliopsoas tightness and myalgia (muscle pain) and iliopsoas dysfunction is associated with a host of symptoms.

This includes some or all of the following:

  • deep hip aching during sitting
  • stiffness, groin and pelvic floor and girdle pain
  • and lower back pain

The ilioinguinal and genitofemoral nerves have a close relationship with the iliopsoas muscle, dysfunction of this muscle can also cause nerve pain in the groin and genitals.


Tx for Iliopsoas Dysfunctions


Orthopedic and pelvic floor physical therapy are first-line treatments for iliopsoas dysfunction! Treatments will vary based on the underlying soft tissue and mechanical impairments, multiple impairments often contribute to someone’s pain and dysfunction.

The iliopsoas impairments can cause joint dysfunction in the pelvic girdle, lumbar spine and hip AND dysfunction in these joints can cause iliopsoas dysfunction. If joints are involved joint mobilizations will help.

In addition to joint mobilizations, manual therapy techniques may also include:

  • connective tissue manipulation
  • myofascial release
  • PNF
  • nerve mobilizations if there is nerve involvement
  • and myofascial trigger point therapy

Once the pain is reduced neuromuscular re-education can be utilized to help stretch, strengthen, and restore normal mobility. It is common for people with pelvic floor and girdle dysfunction to also have iliopsoas issues, pelvic floor physical therapy can help both problems!



Are you unable to come see us in person in the Bay Area, Southern California or New England?  We offer virtual physical therapy appointments too!

Virtual sessions are available with PHRC pelvic floor physical therapists via our video platform, Zoom, or via phone. For more information and to schedule, please visit our digital healthcare page.

In addition to virtual consultation with our physical therapists, we also offer integrative health services with Jandra Mueller, DPT, MS. Jandra is a pelvic floor physical therapist who also has her Master’s degree in Integrative Health and Nutrition. She offers services such as hormone testing via the DUTCH test, comprehensive stool testing for gastrointestinal health concerns, and integrative health coaching and meal planning. For more information about her services and to schedule, please visit our Integrative Health website page

Melissa Patrick is a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher and is also available virtually to help, for more information please visit our therapeutic yoga page

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