Home » What is the Quadratus Lumborum Muscle? Why Does it Cause Back Pain?

What is the Quadratus Lumborum Muscle? Why Does it Cause Back Pain?

Quadratus Lumborum

quadratus lumborum

What is the quadratus lumborum muscle?

The quadratus lumborum (QL) is located in your lower back on either side of the lumbar spine. It begins at your most minimal rib and finishes at the highest point of your pelvis. This muscle laterally flexes your spine, assists in stabilizing the spine as you go from bending and straightening at the waist and also aids in expiration (breathe out).  This muscle is a big contributor to low back pain!

This muscle is one of the top 3 muscles I palpate when a client comes in with low back pain. By looking at the attachments you can see this muscle influences the lumbar spine, ribs and pelvis. Pain referrals from this muscle include glutes, low back, sacroiliac joint, abdomen, front and side of hip and thigh. I always mention when there’s a muscle people don’t realize is tight or painful until there’s pressure applied, this is definitely one of those muscles.

What causes quadratus lumborum pain?

Pain in the quadratus lumborum can be due to of overuse, stress, and strain. Once in awhile muscles causes pain and solidness when they’re powerless or excessively tight. Based on what I have studied and noticed from clients is that if a client has tension here, they most likely have tension in their glute medius/minimus and adductor muscles. The QL, Adductors and Glute medius and minimus work to keep you stabilized laterally when you balance on one leg. You may be thinking “When do I ever balance on one leg?” Essentially, every time you walk…Every step you take you are balanced on one leg.

Now, if the larger adductor muscles and glute medius and minimus aren’t firing, the QL is going to get the brunt of the workload. So it’s getting extra work from those muscles not firing AND it’s assisting in stabilizing the lumbar spine. This is how many people end up with low back pain. It’s often a result of the larger muscles (typically from thigh and leg) not activating either due to weakness or tightness, and the smaller muscles meant to assist having to now take over as the primary mover.

These factors can make you twist, bend, or lift inappropriately, which makes increasingly strain. It can likewise prompt your QL getting excessively tight in the event that it needs to overcompensate to settle your spine and pelvis. Pain around there can likewise be because of mishaps and inconsistent leg lengths.

Quadratus lumborum trigger point referral

Can quadratus lumborum pain cause confusions?

On the off chance that you don’t treat QL pain, it can bring about worry to different zones of your body. When your body remunerates to help one section that isn’t even, extra awkward nature and misalignments can happen. The pain can turn out to be increasingly extreme and spread to different territories of your body.

Tips for managing and avoiding quadratus lumborum pain

  1. Keep strong functional leg muscles. Foam roll and stretch often and definitely before any lower body workouts.
  2. Use a lacrosse ball to release QL tension. Remember to hold it on any spots that refer pain.
  3. Keep strong functional gluteal muscles! Yes, stretch and foam roll and strengthen.
  4. Make it a point to keep up a great stance while standing, sitting, and driving. Always lift with your legs! Never bend at the waist to lift objects, even if they aren’t heavy. The straightening and twisting after bending phase is the #1 way people throw their back out.
  5. Keep a strong core! Think of it as creating a strong supporting cast.
  6. Side bends and stretches are essential to discharge back pressure and connect with the side muscles. Do practices that will stretch the space between your ribs and pelvis. Yoga, Pilates, and judo are compelling center strengtheners. Strolling at a moderate pace can likewise move back pain.
  7. Rest in a place that is helpful for lessening back pain.

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