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quadratus_lumborum-5

Do you suffer from low back, hip or IT band pain? Do you have discomfort when coughing or sneezing?  Have you experienced soreness from sleeping on a tempurpedic bed? Do you have issues with leg length discrepancies? Do you have to brace yourself when bending or twisting at the waist?
No, these aren’t questions for a pharmaceutical fix!
Keep reading to learn what may be contributing to this pain and how to remedy it.

A while ago I wrote a post titled My favorite stretches for lower back pain. I still perform those stretches daily and I have added another to my routine which has made a significant difference in my level of pain.

More times than not people suffer from pain, related to the issues mentioned above, due to the tightening of a relatively little known muscle called the Quadratus Lumborum.

The Quadratus Lumborum, also referred to as QL, is a deep triangular muscle of the posterior abdominal wall.  It attaches on either side of the spine in three different places: The twelfth rib, the lumbar vertebrae (transverse processes of the spine – L1-L4) and the pelvis (posterior illium/iiliac crest).

qudratus-lumborum
It is responsible for a lateral contraction of the spine (side bending), elevation of the pelvis (hip-hiking) and stabilization of the diaphragm during inhalation.

lateral-flexionLateral flexion

hip-hikingHip Hiling

There are a few common habits that contribute to the overloading or injury of this muscle. Some of those include leaning on one side while sitting at the computer or talking on the phone, continuously sleeping on one side, leaving your wallet in your back pocket while sitting and continually running or walking on a sloped surface.

I have tried various approaches to alleviate the pain associated with the tightening of this muscle. It can be difficult to stretch due to its deep location in the abdominal wall. A common stretch, supine cross-leg spinal twist , is an effective pain reliever but it pales in comparison to the one (video) shown below.

spinal-knee-twistsupine cross-leg spinal twist

While the QL may not be the only source of your low back, hip or pelvic pain, this stretch may be one solution to the pieces of the puzzle.

Want more information on the Quadratus Lumborum?  Please leave a comment…

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