Lower back pain - QL muscle & Treatment

Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons for absence from work and it doesn’t come as  a surprise for manual therapists and rehab therapists. 

 

In this case it’s not the complex illness but the musculoskeletal “simple” condition that’s causing a lot of trouble for a lot of people. 

 

The lack of tools within the medical system able to tackle the issue makes it a fast growing one in our society. 

 

Let’s have a look at lower back then and see if we can throw some light for whoever might be needing it right now.

Causes of Lower back pain

Looking at lower back pain and what causes it we can create 2 main groups.

 

Group 1 – Spinal compression or bulging disc.

 

Group 2 – Muscular. Muscles that tend to cause lower back pain: Erector spinae, QL (Quadratus Lumborum), Ilio-psoas and glutes between others. 

 

These are not the only causes of lower back pain but the most common. We’ll be looking at Group 2, in particular the QL muscle. 

Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons for absence from work and it doesn’t come as  a surprise for manual therapists and rehab therapists. 

 

In this case it’s not the complex illness but the musculoskeletal “simple” condition that’s causing a lot of trouble for a lot of people. 

 

The lack of tools within the medical system able to tackle the issue makes it a fast growing one in our society. 

 

Let’s have a look at lower back then and see if we can throw some light for whoever might be needing it right now.

Causes of Lower back pain

Looking at lower back pain and what causes it we can create 2 main groups.

 

Group 1 – Spinal compression or bulging disc.

 

Group 2 – Muscular. Muscles that tend to cause lower back pain: Erector spinae, QL (Quadratus Lumborum), Ilio-psoas and glutes between others. 

 

These are not the only causes of lower back pain but the most common. We’ll be looking at Group 2, in particular the QL muscle. 

lower back pain treatment

Why does the QL muscle or Quadratus lumborum deserve its own blog entry? 

 

Well this tiny muscle can cause and indeed causes a lot of trouble! 

 

The QL is the deepest muscle of the back, located between the last rib and the hip bone (iliac crest) attaching to both as well as the lumbar spine (1-5 lumbar vertebrae). When it gets upset it creates a lot of pain which restricts movement making it one of the most common muscles that cause people to cancel their plans last minute! 🙂

 

When it spasms, this muscle also causes great alarm for those who experience it due to the intensity of pain and movement restriction as well as the location where these are felt (very close to the spine casually mimic bulging disc or nerve symptomatology.

Why does the QL muscle or Quadratus lumborum deserve its own blog entry? 

 

Well this tiny muscle can cause and indeed causes a lot of trouble! 

 

The QL is the deepest muscle of the back, located between the last rib and the hip bone (iliac crest) attaching to both as well as the lumbar spine (1-5 lumbar vertebrae). When it gets upset it creates a lot of pain which restricts movement making it one of the most common muscles that cause people to cancel their plans last minute! 🙂

 

When it spasms, this muscle also causes great alarm for those who experience it due to the intensity of pain and movement restriction as well as the location where these are felt (very close to the spine casually mimic bulging disc or nerve symptomatology.

QL - Trigger point pain pattern

One of the tools used to identify whether the source of the pain is coming from an upset QL is Trigger Point pain patterns. Trigger points are irritable spots within a taut band of a muscle. Dr. Janet Travell discovered them and realised that they follow the same pattern for every person. This allowed her to identify and release the source of pain.  She documented these trigger point’s pain referral patterns in an epic effort gifting us with a tool of incalculable value. 

 

Her work is now used all over the world by all sorts of manual therapists. 

How do we treat the Quadratus Lumborum

We treat the QL like we treat any other Trigger Point in the body, by applying steady pressure over a period of time (usually 8-12 seconds). This causes the muscle fivers to return to their normal relaxed condition, reducing the pain levels and allowing the muscle to recover a more normal functionality. 

 

Treatment doesn’t stop here of course. In terms of relieving pain, manual therapy can help a great deal but it should be accompanied by a rehab program targeted to correct stability, strength and range of motion of the structures involved (normally upper and lower joints are directly involved and therefore addressed accordingly). 

 

Our body is complex but it responds incredibly well to the right treatment approach and it has the ability to give place to very impressive transformations.

 

No matter the age or the level of mobility, it’s never too late for the body to change. 

QL - Trigger point pain pattern

One of the tools used to identify whether the source of the pain is coming from an upset QL is Trigger Point pain patterns. Trigger points are irritable spots within a taut band of a muscle. Dr. Janet Travell discovered them and realised that they follow the same pattern for every person. This allowed her to identify and release the source of pain.  She documented these trigger point’s pain referral patterns in an epic effort gifting us with a tool of incalculable value. 

 

Her work is now used all over the world by all sorts of manual therapists. 

How do we treat the Quadratus Lumborum

We treat the QL like we treat any other Trigger Point in the body, by applying steady pressure over a period of time (usually 8-12 seconds). This causes the muscle fivers to return to their normal relaxed condition, reducing the pain levels and allowing the muscle to recover a more normal functionality. 

 

Treatment doesn’t stop here of course. In terms of relieving pain, manual therapy can help a great deal but it should be accompanied by a rehab program targeted to correct stability, strength and range of motion of the structures involved (normally upper and lower joints are directly involved and therefore addressed accordingly). 

 

Our body is complex but it responds incredibly well to the right treatment approach and it has the ability to give place to very impressive transformations.

 

No matter the age or the level of mobility, it’s never too late for the body to change.