National Associaltion of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists - Symptom Checker

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This is the technical name of the muscle being described.  This name may be used to find additional information in any medical resource. Iliopsoas
A group of muscles generally denotes muscles of the same function and may share a common attachment point. Hip Flexor
Muscle function, in this definition, is what the muscle could do if it was to contract by itself with the body in anatomical position.  This is a general definition of muscle function.  For more information on how muscles work together on the body please refer to a physiology or functional anatomy text.

The Iliopsoas primarily flexes the thigh at the hip.  It also is crucial to maintaining upright posture and can play an important role in increasing the lumbar lordosis.

A description of where a Myofascial Trigger Point may produce pain in the body.  This area is generally located away from the trigger point.

Pain is distinctive with iliopsoas TrPs in that they create a vertical pattern of pain from around T12 to the sacrum in a line just lateral to the spine. Pain is felt on the anterior thigh.

A description of the symptoms a person may experience with trigger points in the muscle being described.

People describe pain from the iliopsoas by running their hand up and down just lateral to the spine versus straight across the low back from hip to hip horizontally, which would indicate a rectus abdominis condition.

Pain will intensify when the person is standing upright and will be slight when seated.

Difficulty may be noticed when trying to get up from a seated position, especially one that is deep seated like a very soft couch.

May be unable to do sit-ups.


 A list of possible diseases that fit the information derived from examination of a patient.

  1. TrPs in the following muscles: quadratus lumborum, lower section of the rectus abdominis, longissimus thoracis, rotatores, and gluteus maximus and medius.
  2. Iliopsoas bursitis, which may cause diffuse pain in the lateral hip region that may extend to the knee; it is usually, but not always, seen in conjunction with rheumatoid arthritis.

A list of activities or positions that may either CAUSE a trigger point to manifest or PROLONG a pain condition respectively.

  1. Sitting for a long period of time in the jackknifed position, which is when the knees are above the hips while seated.
  2. Fetal position while sleeping (lying on the side with the knees drawn up towards the chest) will shorten the iliopsoas overnight and may activate TrPs.
  3. Sit-up exercises will overload the iliopsoas, especially if done excessively.
  4. A sagging bed will put the iliopsoas in a shortened position and aggravate TrPs.
  5. Paradoxical or “chest” breathing.

A corrective action is usually a modification of daily routine which will reduce stress on the affected muscle(s) in a person with myofascial trigger points.

  1. Apply moist heat to the abdomen over the iliopsoas, which runs from the bottom of the ribcage to the lessor trochanter (front/upper part of the leg)
  2. Since the iliopsoas is very responsible for upright posture then falls are more prevalent in severe pain.  If pain is severe, move around on the hands and knees until help can be obtained to avoid falling and creating more injury.
  3. Correct any LLLI (lower limb length inequality or “short leg”)
  4. Sit in a chair that is just high enough to create at least a 10 degrees from the right angle.  If looking at a person seated from the side, the knees would be pointed down towards the floor at about a 10+ degree angle.
  5. When sleeping on the back, a pillow under the knees may take pressure off of the iliopsoas and greatly increase the quality of a night of sleep.
  6. If a paradoxical breather, then learn diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing.
  7. Sit-back exercises may be helpful.

References : 
Simons DG, Travell JG, Simons LS, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, vol 1, 2nd Ed. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1999.

Travell JG, Simons DG, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, vol 2. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1992.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.  A proper diagnosis should be sought from a licensed health care provider.