Is Your Quadratus Lumborum Causing Lower Back Pain?

Millions of people suffer from lower back pain. One reason for this is because the Quadratus Lumborum muscle can be a source of pain in the spine. The majority will experience some form, and it’s estimated that 60-70% will go through low back problems at one point or another during their lifetime!

What is Quadratus Lumborum

Quadratus is derived from Latin “quadrus”, which means “square”, while lumborum derives from Latin “lumbus”, which means “loin”. The QL (Quadratus Lumborum) muscle is one of the many muscles that are found on either side of your spine, and it helps with movement when you bend or twist. It also plays a major role in supporting your lower back by stabilizing its twisting forces against injury to other spinal structures like ligaments and discs. The pain from this structure can be felt as an ache which may turn into sharp shooting pains depending on what type of activity has been performed – often leading people to believe they have sciatica instead because their symptoms mimic those so closely!


Quadratus lumborum is one of the common sources of pain and that can be missed or ignored easily. Quadratus lumborum’s myofascial pain syndrome stems from spasm and stiffness in the muscle, which often results with weak back muscles compensating for it leading to painful spasms; however, if left untreated this injury could cause more serious problems like chronic lower back discomfort.

Why Does My Quadratus Lumborum Cause Me Pain?

There are many reasons why your QL could be causing you pain. It’s possible to develop pain in the quadratus lumborum from overuse, stress and strain. Pain caused by repetitious motions or weak back muscles can lead to poor posture. Poor posture like leaning one way when standing, sitting without support on your lower back will only cause more harm and leads to additional stress on your QL.

Sitting for long hours

Long hours sitting at a desk can lead to serious health problems, with the stabilizer muscles of the vertebrae shutting off. When these muscles no longer provide support for your spine and lower back then your QL takes up slack. But it’s not meant to do that job!

Related: Best Office Chair for Sciatica

Tight hips and glutes

If you are someone who has tight hips and glutes that just aren’t being worked to their full potential, then your QL may be over compensating. When the glutes get tighter from inactivity, the QL will step up as a prime mover of the hip joint with each stride which leads to this gait: hiking upwards every time they take a step.


The quadratuslumborum, like all muscles, can be injured. Quadratus lumborum pain can result from injury to the muscle due to an accident or sports injury. An injury can also result from common everyday activities. The quadratus lumborum can be injured by incorrect or awkward lifting of heavy objects. These factors can cause you to twist, bend, lift incorrectly, and create more tension. If your spine or pelvis is not stable, it can cause your QL to become too tight.

Uneven leg

This can also be one of the reason for QL pain. Uneven leg lengths cause additional strain to various muscles throughout the body, including quadratus lumborum. If one leg is shorter than another, the pelvis might be higher on either side. A tilted pelvis could also result in a shorter quadratus lumborum. This can cause strain to the muscle.

How to treat QL pain

There are many ways to treat back pain, but it is important to get your issue assessed as soon as possible so that the true underlying root of injury can be determined.


As with any muscle pain, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the symptoms. One of them is heat therapy for 10-15 minutes. This helps improve flexibility and gives some short term relief from discomfort as it loosens up that tightness in your tissue. As long as there is no inflammation, heat therapy can be used to aid in recovery/relief.

Two types of heat can be used to treat certain conditions. It depends on the condition that you are dealing with, so it might be necessary to use a particular type of heat.

Dry Heat is a method of heating the affected area with a dry heat source. You can use dry heating packs or heating pads to warm up the affected area.

Moist heat refers to using moist heat, which is a heat source that penetrates deeper inside the body and reaches the muscles, joints, ligaments, and other vital organs. You can use moist heating packs, hot baths and steamed towels as examples.


A number of quadratus lumborum stretches can be used to help prevent QL pain. One simple stretch is the side stretch, which opens up the muscle and reduces injury risk. A good physiotherapist can advise you on the right stretches specific to your QL pain.

Keep Moving

If you are working at a desk and not moving around, this can cause QL pain to develop or worsen quickly. To prevent QL problems, take breaks from sitting every 20 minutes by going for walks, stretching out on the floor, getting up to drink tea or coffee –anything will do!


Massage of QL muscle can provide great relief when the pain becomes overwhelming, but only if done by an appropriate professional who understands how to target this area specifically. You may find relief from your pain with certified professionals who can offer massage therapy with myofascial and physical release, massage, chiropractic treatment, and even acupuncture.

Strengthening exercises

Strengthening exercises are essential for preventing QL pain from recurring. Yoga, Pilates and tai-chi are all great core strengthening activities. A moderate pace of walking can be helpful in relieving back pain. Exercise may not only improve physical function but also help with mental well-being for people suffering from chronic back pain.


A person with untreated QL pain could be at risk for developing other orthopedic problems. The body may compensate by supporting one area that is not symmetrical, which can lead to imbalances and misalignments in the rest of your body. The QL pain is more likely to become more worse and chances are the pain will spread to other parts of your body.

Consult your doctor if you think that what’s causing your pain is the quadratus lumborum. They can help you get to the root of it and figure out whether or not there are any underlying health issues in play as well. Health care providers will work with you to create a treatment plan for anything from self-care, home treatments such as physio therapy, acupuncture etc., all depending on how severe it might be.