Welcome to my Lumborum-torium

Halloween has past. The kiddies are dividing up their candy at school. There are endless mounds of leftover fun size Almond Joy at work. So, why are you still moving slowly, like Quasimodo lumbering?

It could be your Quadratus Lumborum. Commonly known as the “QL”, this muscle connects your lower back vertebrae and your bottom rib to your pelvis. You use the QL in many everyday activities. The primary functions are side bending at your trunk and straightening your spine. Your QL is also active in stabilizing your lower back.

Aggravating your QL is pretty easy to do. Lifting heavy object will aggravate it, especially if you are twisting while lifting. Symptoms include difficulty turning over in bed, consistent pain in the lower back, hips, glutes, etc. People report sharp pain while standing and walking. Even sneezing can make you think you have a pinched nerve.

Helping yourself avoid the problem is pretty straight forward. If you are in a situation where you are doing a lot of lifting, practice those safe lifting techniques that you’ve been taught (bend at the knees, wear a back support belt.) There are simple every day practices that can help as well. Sit down when you put on your pants in the morning. Don’t sit on your wallet. Even the process of sitting down can be eased by slowing the process down.

If there is already a problem, there are some simple stretches you can find online.

During your massage, the QL is relatively easy to palpate. It lies half way between your ribs and your pelvis. Gentle rocking of your lower back, direct pressure and working related muscles generally does the trick. Your massage therapist should also consider the piriformis, glutes, abdominals and the iliopsoas (aka the Tebowing muscle).

In short, when you are “Quasimodo Lumbering” (QL) think Quadratus Lumborum (also coincidentally QL). It’s not something you have to live with.

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