Piriformis and Psoas–Let’s Stretch! (AKA More Injuries)

Been a while cheez heads. Sorry for yet another hiatus! Guess not a whole lot has been going on that is blog-worthy.

Here’s an obligatory photo of the editor-in-chief giving me the side eye for being so tardy in this post.

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And here’s a double rainbow we saw when it rained a few weeks ago (brief and certainly did nothing to help with the drought–but rain is rain!)

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I’m down again with another injury. I can’t believe it. I guess my body is just telling me to rest. Not totally sure what’s going on this time, but I think I strained a calf muscle (somehow) and I’m having trouble with both my piriformis and psoas muscles. In so many words, I have a pain in the ass. I’m sure this is karmic retribution, for I also am a pain in the ass, or so I am told.

So let’s talk about stretching. It’s super important for so many reasons, as you all know, most importantly making long, lean muscles. However, if you’re among the legions of those who sit all day, even if you do work out, over time your body is going to begin to rebel. Tight psoas muscles are a common culprit in back pain of the chronic sitter.

So let’s get those psoas muscles loosened up. Yoga is great for stretching those muscles that you forgot you had, but maybe you don’t have time for a full yoga class every day. Here are some simple psoas stretches you can do.

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Iliopsoas

 

If you have tight psoas muscles, believe me these, are going to hurt. You can raise your arm and lean to the side a little with the first psoas stretch, for a little extra fun. You can also do that same stretch standing up.

Now on to the piriformis. I actually think these stretches feel good, for the most part, but right now my muscle is so irritated it’s a little tough to get the muscle to stretch. In addition to these, you can you use a tennis or racquetball, or even a foam roller to really get into that piriformis muscle. You basically sit on the ball or roller and let it dig into the muscle to release it, while sort of rolling the ball on the floor. This hurts. A lot. All the tennis balls in my house squeak, so I’m going to get a racquetball this weekend. Oh who am I kidding, I’ll likely just order one online. Anyhoo, this video does a better job of explaining the pirformis roll than I will, so check it out, then try the stretches.

 

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There are lots of resources online for stretching these muscles, so I won’t go into to much more detail here, but you can Google around to find more videos and techniques, altho I basically outlined the main stretches. While I’m resting and stretching this week, I hope to do a little extra yoga and maybe just focus on some upper body only work later in the week. But I’m really just going to be icing and stretching for the most part. It’s better to rest than to push yourself too far and be out of commission for a longer period of time.

Since I have a little extra time with my break from working out, I picked up an old Steven King book, Four Past Midnight. The copy I have is the original, so the cover is different than the one in the link. Hopefully I don’t need to sleep with the light on tonight. His books totally give me nightmares. And yes, I’m fully aware that I should be embarrassed about reading such nonsense, but it’s fun.

Any other stretches you recommend? How did you get through your last bout with injury?