What is the quadratus lumborum muscle?
The quadratus lumborum, also known as QL, is the deepest abdominal muscle. It is located in your lower back on either side of the lumbar spine. The quadratus lumborum muscle starts at the pelvis and goes up to the lowest rib. This muscle is used to sit, stand, and walk. It is used pretty often, that is why pain in this area is commonly felt. Providing stability to the body along with the movement of the spine and pelvis is the main role of the quadratus lumborum. It also helps support the core of the body when breathing.
What causes quadratus lumborum pain?
One of the primary sources of lower back pain is the quadratus lumborum. When this muscle is strained, pain is experienced. A muscle that is too weak or tight causes pain and stiffness in the lower back.
This muscle is prone to injuries because it is frequently used. Some activities that strain the quadratus lumborum muscle are repetitive heavy lifting and sporting activities like golfing, rowing, and kayaking.
These things can make you twist, bend, or lift improperly, creating tension in the muscle. When this happens, your quadratus lumborum has to overcompensate in order to stabilize your spine and pelvis. This, in turn, results in your muscle becoming too tight, causing pain in your lower back.
Moreover, there is a good reason why one should never sit for too long. Sitting for long periods of time reduces blood flow to the quadratus lumborum and the surrounding areas. When this happens, lower back pain may be experienced. Practice standing after every hour.
Unequal leg length is also a factor that can cause pain quadratus lumborum muscle pain. It puts additional strain on various muscles in the body, the quadratus lumborum included. If one leg is longer than the other, the pelvis on this side is most likely higher compared to the other one. A tilting pelvis can lead to a shortening of the quadratus lumborum, which can strain the muscle and cause lower back pain.
In addition, accidents can also injure the quadratus lumborum muscle. Car accidents or sports injury can cause trauma to the muscle, resulting in quadratus lumborum pain. Even common everyday activities can result in an injury in this muscle if done wrong. If you have to lift heavy objects, make sure that you do it properly so as not to strain the quadratus lumborum muscle.
Leaving quadratus lumborum muscle pain untreated can cause stress in other areas of the body. For sure, the body will compensate to support the part which is not symmetrical. Because of this, other imbalances may occur. Stop the pain from becoming more severe and from spreading to other areas of your body.
There are different treatments that can help relieve quadratus lumborum pain. The following treatments may be helpful:
Cold therapy reduces blood flow to the injured area, thus using an ice pack can reduce the inflammation. Since cold has a numbing effect on the affected area, pain sent by the nerves to the brain is slowed down.
Use a heating pad on the painful area. It will help your muscles relax, relieving pain and stiffness in the muscle. Applying heat to the muscle also helps with blood flow to the affected area, reducing pain.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and Tylenol can be taken to control pain and inflammation caused by quadratus lumborum strain or injury.
Doing some yoga poses and stretches can help to decrease quadratus lumborum pain. As a matter of fact, a review in 2015 reported that practicing yoga reduces discomfort and disability-related with lower back pain. Aside from improving physical health, yoga also helps improve mental well-being.
Trigger point injections
In order to reduce muscle spasm and quadratus lumborum pain, trigger point injections may be administered. Medication will be injected into the trigger point to reduce inflammation and pain. An anesthetic may be used to numb the painful area. A steroid may also be used to decrease inflammation.
Massage therapy -Massage can reduce the tightness of the muscles. This can also increase the blood flow to the affected area. This therapy can also be very helpful in alleviating quadratus lumborum pain.
Common symptoms of quadratus lumborum pain are a persistent pain in the hips, buttocks, groin, pelvic area, and in front of the thigh. Sharp abdominal pain may also be fully when coughing and sneezing.
Tightness and discomfort in the lower back region are also signs of quadratus lumborum pain. Pain in this area is usually described as a deep aching pain. Likewise, pain may also be sharp and severe.
Persistent pain in the lower back can be experienced even at rest. Pain usually gets worse with movement. Regular activities like rolling over in bed, walking, and standing, can worsen the pain.
A trigger point is that sensitive area in your body that hurts when stimulated or pressed. Injured and stressed muscles that are tight and painful are located in these trigger points. A radiating pain that spreads in other areas of the body can be felt when a trigger point is pressed.
There are simple things that you can practice to prevent quadratus lumborum pain or reduce pain. First, practice good posture when sitting and standing. It is also better to use a lumbar support pillow when sitting. If you are going to lift objects, bend at the knees instead of at the waist. A healthy weight is also very helpful. Moreover, avoid sitting for too long. Avoid the quadratus lumborum muscle from getting stiff by standing up or walking once in a while. Lastly, do not sleep on only one side, because this can also cause muscles to be stiff, including the quadratus lumborum.