What pain and symptoms are associated with the quadratus lumborum?
- Pain in the low back, constant deep aching even at rest
- Pain in the hips and buttocks
- Groin pain
- Pelvic pain
- Pain down the front of the thigh
- Low abdominal pain
Where is the Quadratus Lumborum muscle?
The quadratus lumborum is a low back muscle that connects the hip bone and lower back vertebrae to the 12th rib.
What movements does the quadratus lumborum muscle control?
- Side bending the trunk
- Straightening of the spine (standing straight)
- Stabilizes low back
Activities that cause quadratus lumborum pain and symptoms:
- Lifting heavy objects
- Twisting while lifting
- Leg length discrepancy – one leg shorter than other. This can be the way you were born or due to injury. It is often seen after a leg has been in a cast or splint.
Interesting facts about the quadratus lumborum:
- Known as the ‘hip hiker’ muscle’ because it is the muscle that raises the hip.
- Pain from the quadratus lumborum can be paralyzing. It brings sharp knife like pain to the lower back area. Turning over in bed and trying to stand from a sitting position can almost bring tears to the eyes.
- People who have one hip noticeably higher than the other are usually experiencing problems with the quadratus lumborum.
Clinical diagnoses to which this muscle symptoms may contribute:
- Trochanteric bursitis
- S1 nerve compression
- Degenerative disc disease
- Intervertebral stenosis
- Cauda equina syndrome
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Sprain/Strain low back
- Weakened Abdominal Muscles
- Uterine Fibroids
- Uterine Prolapse
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Kidney Infection
- Kidney stones
- Bladder Infection
- Urinary tract infection
Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the quadratus lumborum:
- Lumbar paraspinal muscles
- Gluteus Maximus
- Gluteus Medius
- Gluteus Minimus
- Rectus Abdominis
Help with Quadratus Lumborum Muscle Pain
Warm Therapy Gel For Low Back Pain
Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. Unlike other over the counter heating creams, it provides warmth without burning heat. Applying Sombra to the muscles across the lower back and down into the hips and buttocks can help reduce pain and tightness caused by the quadratus lumborum muscle. I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and pain from arthritis. Very highly recommended for quadratus lumborum pain.
Cold Therapy Gel For Middle and Low Back Injury and Pain
Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel and I use it for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries. It is better than warm therapy gels and creams for recent injury muscle pain as it cools the area much like ice and does not promote swelling. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. If your pain is from a recent injury caused by twisting or lifting a heavy object I would recommend applying Biofreeze across the low back, top of the hips and down the outside of the hip.
Tips for Treating Quadratus Lumborum Pain with Ice and Heat Packs
Many therapists and doctors recommend gel packs over heating pads and straight ice for treatment. Gel packs hold a uniform temperature and help avoid the temptation to over treat. Cold therapy should never last more than 20 minutes. After 20 minutes of cold you are risking tissue damage. Heat therapy should only be applied for 30 minutes at a time. NEVER put an ice or heat treatment against the skin! Always use a folded towel between pack and skin to prevent the risk of frostbite or burn!
For sudden onset and newly injured low back pain use ice packs at 20 minute intervals for the first 24 hours or until swelling has subsided. Treatment can be repeated every hour.
For chronic ongoing muscle pain heat will bring the most relief. Again heat can be used at 20 minute intervals once an hour.
There are many things that I like about the Elasto Gel Ice & Hot Wrap for Pain in Lower Back.
- It can be used for either hot or cold therapy, no need for two separate items.
- It can be comfortably worn to provide hot or cold therapy while you are up and moving. The gel mixture and 4-way stretch material conforms to the body to provide excellent treatment and comfort.
- It is durable.
- Fourth is the sacral tail that comes down covering the sacral area. The sacrum and the area surrounding it is often involved low back pain, yet it is often not a focus when treating with heat or cold therapy.
Recommended Back Support Low Back Pain – Exceptional Relieve From Pain Caused By The QL Muscle!
I seldom rave about products, but this is one product it would be hard for me to do without!
Professionals Choice Comfort Fit Low Back Support is my go to back brace. This brace has helped me more than any other with low back and low abdominal pain. The lumbar pad provides support without the uncomfortable restriction and poking of metal supports. The band is wide, covering the entire lower back. It has an adjustable Velcro front closure along with adjustable Velcro side panels which can be tightened or loosened to provide support and compression. The brace also reflects your body heat back into the muscles, providing warmth to tight sore muscles. For those with recent injuries or flare ups, it is comfortable enough wear all night and will not disrupt your sleep.
The brace is made of closed-cell, limestone-based Neoprene which is extremely durable and resilient. The brace retains it’s shape over years of use and does not absorb moisture. It can be machined washed on the gentle cycle.
I have recommended this brace to many clients and friends with chronic low back pain and every one has commented how much it helps relieve their pain and helps with mobility. As with other back braces, it may not help much with sciatica pain, but it can provide additional support and warmth to low back muscles which may bring some relief. But if you have muscle, tendon or ligament injuries, new or old, I highly recommend that you try this brace!
Self Treatment For Middle and Low Back Pain
Do you know that muscle ‘knots’ in the quadratus lumborum muscle can cause pain in the low back that extends into the buttocks and outside of the hip? It also contributes to low abdominal, pelvic and groin pain.
If you are interested in treating back pain caused by trigger points I recommend you purchase Claire Davies The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. Mr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language. But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain, how to find the trigger point and treat it. He also provides stretching and strengthening exercises for each muscle. If you suffer with unresolved back, hip, buttock and leg pain I highly recommend this book. It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body. Relieving trigger points in the QL muscles have helped many people reduce or even resolve their low back pain issues. This book is a must have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.
The Theracane Massager is a self treatment massage tool for use on those hard to reach areas on the neck, shoulders, back, hips and legs. If you are considering buying the book The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook, you will need to buy the Theracane to use the treatment methods detailed in the book.
Anatomy Study: Origin, Insertion, Action and Innervation of the Quadratus Lumborum Muscle
Origin: Transverse processes of L1 – L4, the ilolumbar ligament, posterior third of the iliac crest
Insertion: Inferior border of the 12th rib
Action: Alone, lateral flexion of vertebral column; Together, depression of thoracic rib cage
Blood Supply: Branches from the lumbar artery
Innervation: Ventral primary rami of T12 – L3
1. Lateral rotation of the lumbar spine when acting unilaterally
- Agonists: Iliocostalis lumborum, Longissimus thoracis, Psoas major, External Oblique, Internal Oblique
- Antagonists: Same muscles on opposite side (Iliocostalis lumborum, Longissimus thoracis, Psoas major, External Oblique, Internal Oblique)
1. Elevation of the pelvis when acting unilaterally
- Agonists: Rectus abdominis, Internal Oblique, External Oblique
- Antagonists: None – assisted by gravity
Satellite Trigger Points: Gluteus minimus, Gluteus medius, Thoracolumbar paraspinals, Piriformis