Dealing with an Angry Psoas
Happy Easter to some of you and happy beautiful spring to all! I am currently sunburnt, dead tired and happy as a clam. If I was the type of person who listened to their mother (or their dermatologist, for that matter), I should be mad at myself for getting rather toasty out in the sun today but it's hard to be mad when you've had a killer ride on a perfect day and the end is in sight for getting over that pesky nagging injury. After a winter of the trainer and/or numb toes despite bundling up, I couldn't resist the 65-degrees and sunny forecast and hopped on my bike this morning.Without a cloud in the sky, however, it only took 90-minutes (and zero dollops of sunscreen) for me to get sufficiently chargrilled.
As for the nagging injury, I finally sucked it up, admitted that I "had a problem" and visited a physical therapist on Friday. While I thought I was facing a hip problem (that old one-two-punch of of IT band syndrome and bursitis), it turns out my hip issues—the ones that made me walk like an old lady—were actually a by-product of a strain on my psoas muscle.
But this PT session was just the intro diagnosis and I get to go back next week, where I've been promised a full evaluation, stretches, massages (not of the pleasant type though) and plenty of take-away exercises. from what I've been told though, this injury sounds pretty valid, especially for a triathlete who also manages to cram in lots of overtime at the office.
Since the psoas is a stabilizing muscle, it runs from your spine, through your abdomen and attaches somewhere around your hip... hence, why I was misinterpreting it as a hip issue. When you're standing or your back is arched (think: yoga cobra), your psoas is stretched and elongated. When you're sitting (think: plugging away at a computer all day), it's shortened. And because this is such an important stabilizing muscle in humans, it can easily get tough and rigid. Too much exercise, not enough stretching and too much time in that compressed position can add up to one unhappy psoas.
So now my angry psoas and I will be trekking over to Sports and Spinal Physical Therapy two to three times for the next month or so to see what I can do to nip this in the bud. In less than a month, I'll be down in New Orleans for the 5150 race and I couldn't be more excited to kick off my season in my hometown with my family there to support!