My Iliopsoas Dysfunction Discovery and Yoga

by Stephanie

I'm a 56 year old female. I have had chronic back pain for over a decade. I have been to many doctors and every time they found nothing. I had the usual battery of tests (MRI, X-rays, Sonograms and Bone Scans).

Other than revealing that I had burgeoning osteoarthritis, nothing was found. Lying down at night was the worst. It required an army of pillows just to find a position that could allow me to sleep pain free for a few hours.

Ten months ago I started to do yoga. I thought this form of exercise might bring me some relief. It initially did not. I discovered many weak muscles and badly contracted muscles in my core area. It was challenging and many times I almost gave up.

Around six months of practice I had a breakthrough. I noticed that my hip flexors were beginning to become more flexible. I also read the information about Iliopsoas Dysfunction contained in this website around that time.

I surmised that I might be suffering from this condition. I concentrated my exercise efforts in this area and started to do yoga five to eight hours a week. This regiment has brought me significant pain relief.

Now I practice yoga 8-10 hours a week and my pain is almost gone. I rarely use anti inflammatory drugs anymore. There are many forms of yoga but any style will do at the beginning. I really recommend Restorative Yoga be included in anyone's Yoga activities. It is the best at relieving chronic pain.

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Feb 25, 2012
Success with Yoga
by: Stephen of Lower Back Pain Answers


I was delighted to read the story of your success with yoga in treating your Iliopsoas Dysfunction (aka Iliopsoas Syndrome).

It's so important that others hear this message because this syndrome is practically an epidemic.

I would add a couple of suggestions to how you've been working with this issue...

1. Balance some of the yoga stretches you've been doing with the Active Isolated Stretching technique I demonstrate in the Hip Flexors Stretch video on this page...

Stretching Videos

I'm a staunch advocate of this stretching style because it does not trigger the protective stretch reflex which can cause muscles to fight the stretch.

For more about this see my article, Static Stretching vs Active Isolated Stretching

2. Also, I would strongly encourage your seeing an experienced massage therapist or neuromuscular therapist in order to directly treat both the psoas and iliacus muscles (together these two muscles form the iliopsoas).

This can dramatically increase the effectiveness of other strategies.

You can search for a therapist here:

Find a Massage Therapist

And I provide instructions for practitioners for the release of these muscles here...

Instructions for Iliopsoas Release

I hope these suggestions contribute to your quest for back pain relief.

Stephen @ LBPA

May 08, 2012
by: Anonymous

I too have been suffering for the better part of two and a half years now. Things got worse after my emergency hysterectomy. I lost feeling in my thighs because of nerve damage. I think that was part of the problem.

The nerve damage will not allow my muscles to relax. None of my doctors will admit to this. I too have had problems sleeping because of so much pain in my hip. I have spent over $5000 in therapy and doctor visits with no help. I self-diagnosed myself with this Iliopsoas Dysfunction problem. I sit at a desk sometimes 9 - 10 hours a day plus two hours of drive time. This does not help.

In mid-January I decided to start Yoga because regular exercise was too much for my legs. Started out 1 to 2 hours per week. I am up to 3 hours per week now. I have seen results for the better. But I was not happy with my progress... until I read this.

I now have a new found sense of faith and hope based on your article.

I am going to start looking into more classes at the YMCA I have joined to get at least 5 hours in each week. I am noticing the 3 hours just isn't quite enough. I feel my muscles tightening after a day without Yoga. Thank you, thank you. That's all I can say. People just do not understand the pain.

So thank you. God Bless.

May 08, 2012
by: Anonymous

Hi Anonymous,

It's great to find that someone else has had an experience similar to mine. Do give up, you will have good days and bad days. But the important thing is to incorporate yoga and stretching into your daily routine. I brought a few yoga CDs to augment my classes. The reality is that you may not get to a class every day. You will hopefully find as time goes on with your yoga practice that your body will crave the experience and your muscles will make the transition from chronically contracted to rarely contracting. I still have along way to go but I do feel a vast improvement in my quality of life.


May 08, 2012
Anonymous, Thank You!
by: Anonymous

I truly appreciate your comments. I understand your suffering because I too experienced pain that could not be diagnosed. This website has given me insight into the problems I have been experiencing for years.

I recently visited a registered massage therapist. I explained my issues and shared this website with him before my session. He focused on Illopsoas muscles during the session. The end result was a signicant reduction in pain. I continue to do Yoga to build my core strenght. But now I will incorporate massage therapy that focuses on the Illopsoas muscles.

Sep 12, 2013
by: Anonymous

I just found this site and have hope now I might get relief from the pain I been dealing with for 3 years. I have had MRIs, X-rays, physical therapy and numerous injections in my hip. And several different doctors trying to figure out what is causing the pain in my hip. It started as bursitis in my hip and only has gotten worse over time. I always have pain and then days of intense pain. But the doctors say nothing is wrong with my hip.
I am excited to read more on this site. And to check out the videos, try some yoga and to find a good massage therapist. I am desperate to get my life back.

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Stephen O'Dwyer, cnmt

Neuromuscular Therapist & Pain Relief Researcher

Stephen O'Dwyer, CNMT


Lower Back Pain Answers

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