Quadratus Lumborum Muscle Pain: Signs and Symptoms
- 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 (iliac crest), lower back vertebrae (L1, L2, L3, L4) and 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
- 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 often experiencing problems with the quadratus lumborum.
You use the QL muscle when you side bend the trunk, straighten the spine and hike up the hip.
Quadratus Lumborum Pain and Symptoms Can Be Similar To, Contribute To, and Be Affected By These Medical Diagnosis:
- Trochanteric bursitis
- S1 nerve compression
- Degenerative disc disease
- Cauda equina syndrome
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Uterine Fibroids
- Uterine Prolapse
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- Kidney Infection
- Kidney stones
- Bladder Pain and Infection
- Urinary tract infection
- T10 T11 T12 Radiculopathy
- L1 L2 L3 L4 or L5 Radiculopathy
Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the quadratus lumborum:
Satellite trigger points associated with the quadratus lumborum muscle:
- Gluteus minimus
- Gluteus medius
- Thoracolumbar paraspinals
TWD Recommendations For Quadratus Lumborum Muscle Pain Relief
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.
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.
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.
CorPak Soft Comfort Hot & Cold Pack Wrap is a versatile pack that can be used to treat the lower leg, foot / ankle, as well as other areas of the body. This pack works well for the quadratus lumborum muscle as the pack has a bit of weight which will help relax low back muscles. The pack is filled with pliable gel and has a soft frost free cover that will not irritate your skin. For recent injuries, use it cold to reduce swelling. For older injures or chronic pain use heat to relax the muscles and increase circulation.
The Pro-Choice Back Support is my go to for abdominal support and 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.
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 increase mobility. If you have muscle, tendon or ligament injuries, new or old, I highly recommend that you try this brace.
Sizing: Small and Medium fits waists 22" - 38". Large fits waist 24" - 40". X-large fits waist 41" - 50. XX-large fits waist 51" - 60".
Self Treatment For Middle and Low Back Pain Triggered By The Quadratus Lumborum Muscle
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 and hip pain issues. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.
The Thera Cane Massager is my first choice of purchase with the workbook for two reasons: First, you can easily reach your back without the need to bend or contort your body. Secondly, once you understand trigger points, you will find that you will want to treat other muscles and you may need help accessing the muscles. The Thera Cane allows you to easily treat all muscles of the body. If you have weak or arthritic hands, you may need a tool to help you use and hold the pressure required for trigger point treatment. If you are buying the workbook, the Thera Cane is worth the investment!
Twelve years of experience working with clients with chronic pain, post injury pain, and post surgery pain. Muscle dysfunction is often overlooked but can hold the key to many pain conditions.