Well, the beginning of week 3 is here, testing out my pattern defectiveness with NKT on my wonderful volunteer case study
This week was pretty much the same homework for her, as she had seen great results from the gluteal, pec minor and Psoas home exercises, reporting a much reduced pain level and more movement in her shoulder which she noticed in her Yoga class this week.
One unorganised relationship to look at next is tightness in the Pectinous which seems to do the work of the Rectus Femoris and Psoas, which are much bigger hip flexors. She notices a tightness in her upper inner thigh area when she cycles, but as she’s not cycling at the moment, we decided to not challenge this for now, but to focus on the original issue of the SI Joint compression and the unorganised relationship with the glutes.
So the homework for this week remains the same as last week.
Changes that last and that reduce pain and tight muscles?
Change that reduces tight hamstrings, weak glutes and tight shoulders?
Before you think ‘Ive lost it and 7 days isn’t long enough, then you are right..it isn’t! However, I love to prove you wrong, but I’m not out to to impress you, Im just simply looking for a way that works, that constantly proves its assessments are thorough, and hat doesn’t leave me hunting or guessing.
So, to test my theory, to see if what I have learned was going to work, I needed to test it on real people. Is that illegal in some countries? Maybe!
Anyway, I posted in a local Facebook group(its great for somethings!) for someone who had SI Joint pain, and this lady stepped up. With pain in her SI joint (sacro-iliac), that was my focus in the first sessions.
She is dedicated and did her daily homework, which didn’t take more than 5 mins a day.
She came back in the second week as a follow up, so I could check her homework and she could give me an update.
Those follow up appointment are crucial, the body works in patterns, unravelling the main one can uncover others..and that showed in this second appointment.
A further posture check to see what, if anything, had changed
And rather than guessing at what needs stretching because its tight, I used NKT protocols.
As a pattern detective in training, I assessed her movement patterns.
That means checking how effective was her hip flexion, knee flexion, arm flexion. What pattern does her brain have in its software to use these movements?
A chat about her history gave me a few clues, checking her posture assessment gave me more clues, and checking her organised and disorganised muscles gave me other clues.
I felt like a proper Poirot!
Assess, I don’t guess.
You are unique
Just because you have SI joint pain doesn’t mean the painful area needs stretching.
Just because you have tight neck doesn’t mean it needs stretching. You could be stretching a muscle thats exhausted , has been hanging on for so long its knackered and is telling you its had enough, its pissed off, it wants you to get those other muscles working pretty quick.
Which muscles to test though?
We looked at her right shoulder which was rolling inwards from a tight pec minor. When thats pulling forward then something in the back changes.
After testing a few muscles, her mid and upper Trapezius muscle turned out to be a little bit unorganised, as well as her Latissimus Dorsi.
The tests don’t take long, checking the work and being thorough means you do take time though to ensure that the pattern you have found holds.
Thats the fun of being a pattern detective..
Before and After photos in just 7 days, yep, we’ve still got work to do on that hip. Homework in her second week is for glutes, psoas and trapezius. Why those? Because they all showed up as being disorganised by testing patterns.
Have you got a tight Psoas ? Most of us do, but as we are all different, some of us have a tight Psoas and some of us have a weaker one, but..how do you know? You can tell by the tilt of your pelvis, however, the tricky bit is that if your pelvis is tilted forward, your Psoas may well be tight, but it could also be weak too, so if you do stretch it, you could find that is the last thing it wants, and end up with a whole host o other compensations, and a very pissed off hip flexor.
So, enough of this anatomy speak, where is it that pesky Psoas anyway?
At the base of your ribs where they meet the lumbar spine, so thats T12 (the 12th rib of your thoracic spine) , all the way down to L5, thats the last vertebrae of your lumbar spine.Heres a lovely picture for all you visual people, (thats me!)
It then attaches to a little notch at the inside top end of the femur, thats called the Lesser Trochanter, because its small than the Greater Trochanter which is on the outer edge of the femur , clever eh! Some smart cookie knew what to call that bit of the thigh bone.
The Psoas attaches the upper body to the lower body. Flexes the femur, thats your thigh bone,the longest bone in the body, at the hip joint.You are flexing your thigh when you are bending your knee. Some of us lose this skill and tend to use the lower back instead, thats when we can get problems with lower back pain. Too much lower back, not enough hip stuff going on.
Stretching that long Psoas can create an imbalance in a structure thats tight for a reason. Even if you’ve been told you have a weak Psoas, it can also be strong…weird isn’t it, but true.Took me a while to get m head around that one, and I still spend time thinking on how that actually works…
So, maybe its holding on, as in its tight, because something else in the pattern of your movement isn’t awake, isn’t doing its job, thats called inhibition, a muscle thats not doing its job is inhibited, its shying away from standing up to its responsibility.
If the Psoas has been diagnosed as being tight, it may be inhibited, but it may also be facilitated, that means it has high tone, it may just be overworking to stabilise a structure.
As a pattern detective, I look for the relationship of the Psoas to other muscles in its surrounding group it belong to.
The quadrates lumborum (what a GREAT name! I LOVE that name!)
Pattern detectiveness (is that a word? is now!) means I look for a relationship between Psoas and other muscles, to see how they work together.
Its fun, surprising and humbling.
It means I leave my “oh, it should be doing that!” head at home, and have an open mind, listen to the body and hear what its telling me.
Uniqueness is a beauty
The body is a creative genius!
So, in answer to the question thats the title of this blog post, how to stretch a tight Psoas…you don’t!
I am a real meanie in the eyes of other fitness instructors, because Im going against the grain, and I will not teach a Psoas stretch to a client or in a Pilates/Fitness class, until I know that is what it needs, and that means you have to be assessed. Sorry fitness peeps out there! I actually want my clients to get great results and have no pain, that means working the right muscles in the right way!
Stop stretching it, and get your patterns detected by an NKT specialist. Im in training for level 1 right now, what a voyage of discovery it is too my friend.