Just wanted to talk about one of my favorite-est
lower back muscles and source of a lot of pain for
many of my clients... Meet Quadratus Lumborum (QL).
The QL is comprised of three subsections that have distinct fiber directions:
In my practice, I do some assessments to see if the QL is involved in low back pain, most of the time, I can get a good idea of what's going on during the intake process.
One of the tests I do is to see if the QL is lengthening by having the client side bend. If the lumbar spine remains straight when side bending, it indicates the QL isn't lengthening. For example, when a client side bends to the left and the lumbar spine remains straight, we know the right QL is indicated in this instance.
So, how do we know when the QL is involved in low back pain? Some clients feel pain in low back at rest or in any position. Oftentimes, they feel worse in an upright posture. Other clients report pain after a violent sneeze or cough. The reason is these muscles have to contract to stabilize the rib cage. Some may feel pain in the buttocks, I often ask clients if forward and side bending hurts. This can also be an indicator of QL involvement in low back pain. Because of the attachment to 12th rib, some clients even state they have difficulty with respiration. This is because the QL is also a stabilizer for the diaphragm.
What causes issues with QL muscles?
Of course, the list above is not an exhaustive list by any means and there could be additional reason for low back pain symptoms which could mean other muscles may be involved.
To prevent and address QL-related back pain (or any back pain for that matter) would be to do any exercises that strengthen and stabilize the core. I feel this could be true of preventing any back pain. I see many clients who have weak and shortened abdominal muscles and they almost always tell me they have low back pain. I like hold planks (not situps) to stablize my core. Here's a video on how to correctly work the core. I like it because it explains why conventional situps are a bad thing for your back.
The Bikram Half-Moon pose in yoga is also fantastic for QL stretching. For those who don't know what half-moon pose is, here is a link. You should really be patient with yourself and don't worry if you cannot go that deep. If you don't do yoga or you don't feel safe doing this posture, please don't attempt. Here's another wonderful link for QL excercises. I've also found another informative video on QL testing and strengthening. You can find that video here.
If you are in the Phoenix area and would like to schedule a session with me, you can click here.
Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to seeing you in my cozy treatment room!