Back Pain and the QL muscle

A key muscle in low back pain 

Want to know what is frequently a big part of low back pain?

The quadratus lumborum……a large muscle that makes up most of your middle and low back on both sides of the spine.

It is used a lot as it helps us to sit, stand and walk as well as bend to the side and lift. It’s even involved in breathing!! Consequently it is overused and injured often – think lifting the shopping out of the boot or reaching just a little too far across your desk to get that stapler!

This large, flat workhorse of a muscle begins in your middle back, attaching to your bottom rib and the vertebrae of your low and middle back. The muscle ends where it attaches to your hip bone.

To look after this muscle, maintain mobility, avoid injury or help with recovery try these simple exercises and stretches:

Standing stretch:

  • Stand with legs straight and feet together.
  • Raise your hands above your head with straight arms.
  • Bend slowly and mindfully to one side from your hip until you feel the opposite side stretch
  • Hold for 15-30 secs then repeat on other side.

Side plank:

  • Lay on the floor on your side with your forearm on the floor, elbow in line with shoulder, the top arm can rest along the body
  • With your hips stacked raise them off the floor maintaining a straight downward line from top shoulder to top hip
  • With straight legs (option hard) you will be supported by your stacked feet, with top leg extended (option moderate) you are supported by your bent bottom knee, and with both legs bent (option basic) you are supported by both bent knees
  • Ensure you feel engaged in your core muscles (pull belly button in)
  • Hold for 15-60 seconds then repeat on other side

Cat and Cow Pose:

  • Position on your hands and knees with your hips bent to 90 degrees and your torso parallel to the ground.
  • Round your back like a cat stretching and gently hold this position for about five seconds, then come back to the neutral starting position.
  • Next, flex your low back and hold this position for about five seconds.
  • repeat these alternating movements for up to one minute breathing with the move and letting the move be soft and flowing

Finish this routine by lying on your back, hugging knees/knee to chest and taking a few deep breathes.

Massage and sports therapist Nicki Wood

Author Nicki Wood works as a Massage therapist at Broadwater Osteopaths in Worthing. She came to the practice with a background working as a personal trainer and sports instructor. She has extended her skill set to include clinical massage, lifestyle management, exercise rehabilitation, nutritional coaching and even finds time to run exercise classes to for her patients.

To find out more about Nicki, click here.

To find out more about the treatments offered in her Worthing practice, click here.


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