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Quadratus Lumborum Muscle: Low Back, Hip, Buttock, Groin, Pelvic, Abdomen Pain

Quadratus Lumborum Pain

The Quadratus Lumborum muscle contributes to pain in the low back hip, the front of the thigh, low abdominals, pelvic and groin. Pain is most pronounced in the low back and hip area.

Quadratus Lumborum Muscle

You use the QL muscle when you side bend the trunk, straighten the spine and hike up the hip.

  • 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
  • Stabbing back and or abdominal pain when coughing or sneezing

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 12thrib.

What movements does the quadratus lumborum muscle control?

  • Side bending the trunk
  • Straightening of the spine (standing straight)
  • Stabilizes  low back
  • Helps to raise the hip when you lift your thigh
  • Assists with exhalation (breathing out)

Activities that cause quadratus lumborum pain and symptoms:

  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Twisting while lifting
  • Sleeping on a mattress that is too soft
  • Horseback riding
  • Golfing
  • Kayaking
  • 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.
  • The QL muscles are often affected when you slip and or fall

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 a sharp stabbing 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.
  • The quadratus lumborum muscle allows separation of movement between the upper body and lower body.  Two examples are keeping the hips and legs still while moving and twisting the upper body and arms, or moving the legs while keeping the upper body still.
  • People who have one hip noticeably higher than the other are usually experiencing problems with the quadratus lumborum.

Clinical diagnoses to which the quadratus lumborum muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Trochanteric bursitis
  • S1 nerve compression
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Stenosis
  • Sciatica
  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Scoliosis,
  • Diverticulosis
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Uterine Prolapse
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Prostatitis
  • Kidney Infection
  • Kidney stones
  • Bladder Pain and Infection
  • Urinary tract infection
  • T10 T11 T12 L1 L2 L3 L4 or L5 Radiculopathy

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the quadratus lumborum:

Satellite Trigger Points: Gluteus minimus, Gluteus medius, Iliopsoas, Thoracolumbar paraspinals, Piriformis, Iliocostalis

Associated Organ Systems That May Contribute to Quadratus Lumborum Pain and Symptoms: Kidney, Genitourinary System
For detailed anatomy information see: Quadratus Lumborum Anatomy

Help with Quadratus Lumborum Muscle Pain

Warm Therapy Gel For QL Pain and Stiffness

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 and stiffness.
Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief and relieves quadratus lumborum stiffness.

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.

Biofreeze is recommended for recent quadratus lumborum muscle strain and injury

Hot Cold Packs for Low Back Pain

SofTouch Large Hot Cold Pack is a large pack that can be used for hot or cold treatment. The pack is large enough to cover the low back and QL area. The inside of the pack contains a clay-like substance that remains soft and pliable so you can mold the pack to your body. The outside of the pack is wrapped with soft suede like material that does not shock the skin when touched. My clients love this pack and it is now the only hot and cold pack that I use in my massage therapy practice.

To treat quadratus lumborum muscle pain lay the pack across the low back and top of the hips. Allow the pack to drape over the sides of the body.

Hot / Cold Lumbar Wrap for Quadratus Lumborum Pain

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.
The Elasto Gel Wrap comes in two sizes: Small fits 24 inch to 36 inch waists . Large fits 36 inch to 52 inch waists.

Recommended Back Support Low Back Pain - Exceptional Relieve From Pain Caused By The QL Muscle

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 its 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 everyone 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. It is extremely effective for QL pain and stiffness.

Professionals Choice Back Support for quadratus lumborum pain and stiffness

Self  Treatment For Middle and Low Back Pain Triggered By The Quadratus Lumborum Muscle

Do you know that small knots and other dysfunction in the quadratus lumborum muscle can contribute to pain in the lower back, hips, groin, low abdomen area and front of the thigh?

If this pain pattern sounds familiar I recommend that 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.  If you suffer from 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 Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body.

Self Treatment Tool To Treat The QL Muscle

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.

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