Fibromyalgia Misdiagnosis -- ME/CFS Symptoms Traced to Tight Psoas Muscle

Wayne

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In light of the extensive discussion surrounding CCI/AAI, I thought I'd resurrect this thread because of some striking similarities. This post has three main parts: 1) A Sept. 3, 2003 Post on the ProHealth forum; 2) An Aug. 3, 2015 Reply to that initial post; and 3) A description of a recommended book. I took the liberty to bold and underline what I considered points that were particularly noteworthy.

In the original post, the author describes how she traced the cause of her FM symptoms to a tight psoas muscle. It's a good example of how a diagnosis--whether FM or ME/CFS--is not always a correct one. The second story tells of how another man discovered his own ME/CFS symptoms were also largely being caused by a tight psoas muscle. The book review at the end lists many ME/CFS type symptoms that can be caused by a tight or spasming psoas muscle.

There's been a number of threads on PR over the years discussing various therapies addressing structural issues--in addition to the recent focus on CCI/AAI--and how they've been helpful. I'm convinced more than one structural issue plays a large part of my own health picture. -- Someday, I hope to pull together a somewhat consise overview of a lot of these structural issues, and some effective strategies to address them.

...................................................................

Sep 3, 2003

Hi People​
I just want to let you know that I've been in the 'fibromyalgia basket' for 2.5 years when my problem was really something else. It was/is a muscular problem - one muscle in particular - the psoas muscle. I am sharing this with you in the hope that my story may help someone - it is worth investigating.​
Hardly anyone has heard about this muscle, let alone what effects it can have on the body. It is tucked deep inside your spine and connects to your iliacus muscle in the hip bowl and attaches to leg tendons etc. It shares the same insertion point in the spine as your trapezius muscle so has the potential to alter your entire body's mechanics. Which it did to me.​
I was getting fibro-like symptoms, waking up early, nervous system jittery, tingling, numb hands and fingers, irritable bowel, blocked sinuses, muscle spasms, hip, neck, back pain, breathing problems, depression, agitation etc etc.​
It's taken me 10 months of intensive physical therapy to make enough progress to be sure that the psoas spasm I had is the root of all my problems. I have more lengthening and stretching of the psoas to be symptom-free but I can tell I will get my body back.​
I went to countless specialists, neurologists, gastroenterologists and rheumatologists with negative results but I was getting to the point where I couldn't breathe and my nervous system was constantly burning tingling. I was put on antidepressants which helped me stay asleep.​

After a lot of research I flew to Adelaide to be diagnosed by a psoas specialist and she said my left psoas muscle was short and tight which is common on your dominant side, this had caused a gradual rotation of the right side muscles in an attempt to create pelvic balance. So my body was already out of balance without me realising it.​

2.5 years ago I started to get a pulling sensation under my ribs, then got severely constipated (tight psoas interferes with bowel function), which then shut down my right shoulder, then due to emotional stress I had a bad spasm in the right hip. My body locked up in a loop and I developed fibrous tissue all through my back. I had to give up work, my symptoms were getting so bad. Everywhere was pulling.​

To cut a long story short I've been getting psoas releases, remedial massage, laser acupuncture and using a home trigger point locater/treater to get me to where I am now. It has been a huge struggle to keep believing the psoas could cause all my symptoms.​

If anyone is interested in more info. please contact me. The physio I saw in Adelaide has written a book based on her clinical experience of what the psoas can do to the body called 'Front To Back - The Hidden Culprit'. [Book Description Below] -- She said some of her patients over the years have been told they've had MS when it was all a psoas problem.

I don't want to give false hope to anyone suffering, but I strongly recommend that you at least have your psoas muscles looked at by a trained therapist - they should be able to tell you whether they are tight and contributing to your problems.​

Wellness wished to everyone​

Gill​
......................................................

Aug 3, 2015

This post [above] change my life ... almost overnight! I had been suffering from CFS for ten years. Like many, I had tried EVERYTHING in the book. I had been told my symptoms were related to early childhood trauma, and had been working with several practitioners on trauma release for about two years, but the symptoms were not improving.​

I had been suffering a particularly bad bout of CFS for the past few weeks. I had excruciating insomnia, and slept only a couple hours in early morning, and when I woke, it felt like my body had been through war. During the day, I could not focus on the simplest of tasks.​

A few nights ago, I came across this post about the psoas muscle. I did more research, and learned that the psoas muscle is the primary muscular mechanism in the fight/ flight response (receiving orders from the amygdala), as the psoas muscle is what moves the legs to run. I noticed how much tension I carry in the psoas muscle, and that part of my pattern of CFS was tension in the gut, and difficultly breathing, all related to psoas tension.​

I looked up some simple yoga stretches for the psoas, and did them before bed. The first night, I slept a full night, and woke reasonably rested. I think it may have been easy for me to begin to correct the psoas tension, because in my past life (before CFS) I was a highly trained athlete.​

I believe the psoas is the link in the chain between psychological states (for me, the result of childhood trauma) and the somatic/ bodily symptoms of CFS. I have learned so much about this chain (from amygdala to vagus nerve to psoas muscle), and I would be eager to share information with anyone who thinks it might support them. If you would like to dialogue more about this with me, please email me.​

My prayers to all who suffer from these chronic illnesses.​

Michael​
..............................................

THE HIDDEN CULPRIT OF BACK PAIN - THE ILIOPSOAS



Aileen Jefferis in her ground breaking book Front To Back identifies the iliopsoas muscle as an often undiagnosed cause of back pain.

Many patients come to Lifestyle Therapies after seeing multiple therapists and specialists with what seems like untreatable back pain. But after trigger point therapy to release and balance the iliopsoas muscles, sometimes the pain will leave almost instantly.

Purchase Front To Back from Lifestyle Therapies, sold in clinic for $22 or shipped direct to you for an additional $6.50 in Australia or $8.00 for international orders. Click on the shopping cart link below to purchase...



Why do so many patients fail to respond to conventional back pain treatments? In addition, why is that so many suffer from similar seemingly unrelated symptoms such as migraines, burning or numbness on the front of the thighs, abdominal, groin or testicular pain, nausea, bloating, excessive flatulence, constipation, sugar cravings, dry skin, brittle nails or sensitivity to light? These were the observations that lead Aileen to develop a method of diagnosing and treating the hidden culprit of back pain – the iliopsoas muscle.

The iliopsoas is made up of two main muscles, psoas major and iliacus. The psoas major which originates along T12 to L1-5 of the lower back and attaches to the hip joints. Iliacus fans out from the hip joint to the top of the pelvis. As soon as we move to an upright posture, the iliopsoas goes to work and hence is susceptible to overloading.

Some of the actions of the iliopsoas are:

• Maintaining an upright posture when standing and sitting.
• Lifting a leg
• Bending forward
• Turning the leg outward
• Tilting the pelvis forward; and
• Stabilising the spine.

When overloaded the iliopsoas muscle is prone to developing trigger points and becomes tighter.

The connection of the iliopsoas muscle to fatigue symptoms:

The sympathetic nervous system’s main function is to keep us alert to danger and mobilise all the body’s energy and resources in an emergency. Since the nerve signals of the sympathetic nervous system originate from T1 to L2, you can see where an overactive iliopsoas muscle can have an affect.
 
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Violeta

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Very interesting, Wayne, thank you.

My brother brought my attention to the psoas muscle when I saw him on Memorial Day. An accupuncturist had brought it to his attention and did some accupuncture on him and told him to do three yoga stretches, too. He has some postural and intestinal issues similar to mine so he shared the info with me. We ran out of time before he told me the three stretches, but I do know one stretch that is good for stretching it out. Interesting that Michael mentioned the vagus nerve and the amygdala, too.

And also, I had found this the day after talking to him. I go back to this site every now and then but haven't studied it enough. I will get back into it more now after reading your post.

http://www.yoganatomy.com/psoas-resources/

I had been wondering why the psoas muscles play such a big part in a disease that a friend of mine has (polymyositis), and was thinking that it could at least be caused in part by a pathogen due to being in the vicinity of the intestines and pathogens leaking into the abdominal cavity. Either that or something having to do with the ileocecal valve. That may or may not be part of others' issues with it, but is most likely part of my disease.

Here's a list of symptoms caused by ileocecal valve disfunction. I don't know which came first.

Health Problems Associated With the Ileocecal Valve

ICV malfunction can cause a large array of health problems, usually associated with the common chronic health issues prevalent in our society. Because of the numerous amount of symptoms associated with the ICV, it is often called the "great mimicker." This broad spectrum of problems is usually related to toxicity and intestinal dysfunction. The following conditions can be directly or indirectly associated with ICV dysfunction:

  • dark circles under the eyes;
  • ringing in the ears;
  • low back pain;
  • bursitis;
  • fibromyalgia;
  • headaches;
  • weakened immune functions;
  • allergies;
  • cold flu sinuses;
  • nausea, faintness and dizziness; and
  • indigestion, gas and bloating.
 
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SOC

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I believe the psoas is the link in the chain between psychological states (for me, the result of childhood trauma) and the somatic/ bodily symptoms of CFS.
I looked up some simple yoga stretches for the psoas, and did them before bed.
Sounds like this might be just the thing for people whose chronic fatigue is the result of muscular tension possibly related to psychological states (such as childhood trauma). It's cheap. It's easy. It's quick. :thumbsup: Let's all hope that those who fit this profile find this thread and try this treatment.

For those with the neuroimmune illness ME (as defined by the ICC) which is not the result of muscular tension or psychological states... not so much. We'll have to keep waiting.
 

Little Bluestem

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Quite a few years ago I was in an auto accident and my insurance paid for several physical therapy visits. The therapist found that I had a very tight Psoas muscle. I am not sure she got it totally released before my insurance ran out. I may give these a try.
 
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Before "crashing" and being diagnosed with ME, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I was athletic and my first impulse was to think "structural". I was trained in functional movement exercise science, so I tried everything in the book. Did a lot of massage therapy and movement therapy for psoas (and everything else, I feel like...) before I became unable to do so, but in my case it didn't help. Since ME/ CFS has taken over, I find that doing anything to my body exacerbates symptoms- leaving it alone (and limiting all movement) helps symptoms. I think psoas work certainly could help in some people, if they are able to do exercises. It is "one more thing to try", and if it helps, that's great!

However I am cautious that viewing CCI/ AAI as "structural" causes in this traditional sense might lead us backwards to manual therapy ideas that have been previously explored... Especially as it applies to more severe ME. Maybe I just feel that way b/c I personally feel like I exhausted that route. The way I see it, the CCI/ AAI theory feels like a possibility for me b/c it is something I can't control or improve with regular/ traditional therapies, which would fit into my history. But perhaps exercises such as psoas could slow down the impact of CCI/ AAI in the same manner as craniosacral therapy could in theory... I also wonder if they could exacerbate symptoms. We all respond differently...
 
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Thank you for sharing! About two years after I got sick I tried to release my psoas mainly through constructive rest. It was far from a cure but it did help me feel more relaxed and it contributed to better posture. Using a chair to do supported constructive rest was quite easy and did not feel like a large risk in terms of energy output.
 
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In light of the extensive discussion surrounding CCI/AAI, I thought I'd resurrect this thread because of some striking similarities. This post has three main parts: 1) A Sept. 3, 2003 Post on the ProHealth forum; 2) An Aug. 3, 2015 Reply to that initial post; and 3) A description of a recommended book. I took the liberty to bold and underline what I considered points that were particularly noteworthy.

In the original post, the author describes how she traced the cause of her FM symptoms to a tight psoas muscle. It's a good example of how a diagnosis--whether FM or ME/CFS--is not always a correct one. The second story tells of how another man discovered his own ME/CFS symptoms were also largely being caused by a tight psoas muscle. The book review at the end lists many ME/CFS type symptoms that can be caused by a tight or spasming psoas muscle.

There's been a number of threads on PR over the years discussing various therapies addressing structural issues--in addition to the recent focus on CCI/AAI--and how they've been helpful. I'm convinced more than one structural issue plays a large part of my own health picture. -- Someday, I hope to pull together a somewhat consise overview of a lot of these structural issues, and some effective strategies to address them.

...................................................................

Sep 3, 2003

Hi People​
I just want to let you know that I've been in the 'fibromyalgia basket' for 2.5 years when my problem was really something else. It was/is a muscular problem - one muscle in particular - the psoas muscle. I am sharing this with you in the hope that my story may help someone - it is worth investigating.​
Hardly anyone has heard about this muscle, let alone what effects it can have on the body. It is tucked deep inside your spine and connects to your iliacus muscle in the hip bowl and attaches to leg tendons etc. It shares the same insertion point in the spine as your trapezius muscle so has the potential to alter your entire body's mechanics. Which it did to me.​
I was getting fibro-like symptoms, waking up early, nervous system jittery, tingling, numb hands and fingers, irritable bowel, blocked sinuses, muscle spasms, hip, neck, back pain, breathing problems, depression, agitation etc etc.​
It's taken me 10 months of intensive physical therapy to make enough progress to be sure that the psoas spasm I had is the root of all my problems. I have more lengthening and stretching of the psoas to be symptom-free but I can tell I will get my body back.​
I went to countless specialists, neurologists, gastroenterologists and rheumatologists with negative results but I was getting to the point where I couldn't breathe and my nervous system was constantly burning tingling. I was put on antidepressants which helped me stay asleep.​

After a lot of research I flew to Adelaide to be diagnosed by a psoas specialist and she said my left psoas muscle was short and tight which is common on your dominant side, this had caused a gradual rotation of the right side muscles in an attempt to create pelvic balance. So my body was already out of balance without me realising it.​

2.5 years ago I started to get a pulling sensation under my ribs, then got severely constipated (tight psoas interferes with bowel function), which then shut down my right shoulder, then due to emotional stress I had a bad spasm in the right hip. My body locked up in a loop and I developed fibrous tissue all through my back. I had to give up work, my symptoms were getting so bad. Everywhere was pulling.​

To cut a long story short I've been getting psoas releases, remedial massage, laser acupuncture and using a home trigger point locater/treater to get me to where I am now. It has been a huge struggle to keep believing the psoas could cause all my symptoms.​

If anyone is interested in more info. please contact me. The physio I saw in Adelaide has written a book based on her clinical experience of what the psoas can do to the body called 'Front To Back - The Hidden Culprit'. [Book Description Below] -- She said some of her patients over the years have been told they've had MS when it was all a psoas problem.

I don't want to give false hope to anyone suffering, but I strongly recommend that you at least have your psoas muscles looked at by a trained therapist - they should be able to tell you whether they are tight and contributing to your problems.​

Wellness wished to everyone​

Gill​
......................................................

Aug 3, 2015

This post [above] change my life ... almost overnight! I had been suffering from CFS for ten years. Like many, I had tried EVERYTHING in the book. I had been told my symptoms were related to early childhood trauma, and had been working with several practitioners on trauma release for about two years, but the symptoms were not improving.​

I had been suffering a particularly bad bout of CFS for the past few weeks. I had excruciating insomnia, and slept only a couple hours in early morning, and when I woke, it felt like my body had been through war. During the day, I could not focus on the simplest of tasks.​

A few nights ago, I came across this post about the psoas muscle. I did more research, and learned that the psoas muscle is the primary muscular mechanism in the fight/ flight response (receiving orders from the amygdala), as the psoas muscle is what moves the legs to run. I noticed how much tension I carry in the psoas muscle, and that part of my pattern of CFS was tension in the gut, and difficultly breathing, all related to psoas tension.​

I looked up some simple yoga stretches for the psoas, and did them before bed. The first night, I slept a full night, and woke reasonably rested. I think it may have been easy for me to begin to correct the psoas tension, because in my past life (before CFS) I was a highly trained athlete.​

I believe the psoas is the link in the chain between psychological states (for me, the result of childhood trauma) and the somatic/ bodily symptoms of CFS. I have learned so much about this chain (from amygdala to vagus nerve to psoas muscle), and I would be eager to share information with anyone who thinks it might support them. If you would like to dialogue more about this with me, please email me.​

My prayers to all who suffer from these chronic illnesses.​

Michael​
..............................................

THE HIDDEN CULPRIT OF BACK PAIN - THE ILIOPSOAS



Aileen Jefferis in her ground breaking book Front To Back identifies the iliopsoas muscle as an often undiagnosed cause of back pain.

Many patients come to Lifestyle Therapies after seeing multiple therapists and specialists with what seems like untreatable back pain. But after trigger point therapy to release and balance the iliopsoas muscles, sometimes the pain will leave almost instantly.

Purchase Front To Back from Lifestyle Therapies, sold in clinic for $22 or shipped direct to you for an additional $6.50 in Australia or $8.00 for international orders. Click on the shopping cart link below to purchase...



Why do so many patients fail to respond to conventional back pain treatments? In addition, why is that so many suffer from similar seemingly unrelated symptoms such as migraines, burning or numbness on the front of the thighs, abdominal, groin or testicular pain, nausea, bloating, excessive flatulence, constipation, sugar cravings, dry skin, brittle nails or sensitivity to light? These were the observations that lead Aileen to develop a method of diagnosing and treating the hidden culprit of back pain – the iliopsoas muscle.

The iliopsoas is made up of two main muscles, psoas major and iliacus. The psoas major which originates along T12 to L1-5 of the lower back and attaches to the hip joints. Iliacus fans out from the hip joint to the top of the pelvis. As soon as we move to an upright posture, the iliopsoas goes to work and hence is susceptible to overloading.

Thanks for posting this, Michael. I am just beginning to investigate the role of psoas in my CFS. My gut churns 24/7 and even swings my gait when I try to walk. I can feel the pulling of where it attached to my spine, etc. I have just begun seeing a physiotherapist who is investigating it but I have limited resources and it's so difficult getting out of the house. I just don't know where to begin as the PEM is severe. I can do constructive rest pose for about 20 minutes. I guess that's start. Any advice ?

Some of the actions of the iliopsoas are:

• Maintaining an upright posture when standing and sitting.
• Lifting a leg
• Bending forward
• Turning the leg outward
• Tilting the pelvis forward; and
• Stabilising the spine.

When overloaded the iliopsoas muscle is prone to developing trigger points and becomes tighter.

The connection of the iliopsoas muscle to fatigue symptoms:

The sympathetic nervous system’s main function is to keep us alert to danger and mobilise all the body’s energy and resources in an emergency. Since the nerve signals of the sympathetic nervous system originate from T1 to L2, you can see where an overactive iliopsoas muscle can have an affect.
 
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Hi! My symptoms are very much like yours, Michael, and I'm pretty sure the psoas is involved. Not sure who to turn to for help. It all costs so much and nobody seems to get the message. I'm thinking of try a massage therapist who does cranial sacral/myofasical release. Can't get in to see her for a month any advice? Hope you are well.
 

Wayne

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It all costs so much
Hi @Snollygaster -- Welcome to the forum! :) Interesting username... ;)

Have you considered some low- no-cost things that might be effective? I'm currently trying to learn self-acupuncture, self-Gua Sha, and a bit more. I currently have some pretty major muscle issues in my right shoulder and right buttock area. I've so far been pretty impressed how if I get things just right, I can get some pretty dramatic shifts in some of those problem areas.

Of course, there are minor discouragements along the way as there's always a learning curve, but I'm happy with some of the relief I've gotten so far, and anticipate making even better progress going forward. -- I'm also a big believer in the Egoscue approach to addressing body mechanics.
 
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Thanks, Wayne. Lots to chew over here and, best of all, I would really like to help myself and this fits right in! Glad to hear you are making progress. I have never hear of either Gua Sha or Egoscue so will look into those. ...got a chuckle out of your emoji after my username, by the way.
 
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@ wayne Thanks a lot for the info Wayne! My girlfriend is a somatics teacher/practitioner, so I'll definitely look into that. How long have you been working on the psoas muscles? Has a practitioner been able to help you with that? Did it reduce the "brainfog"?
Thanks again