Lower Back Pain: Could It Be Your Quadratus Lumborum?

Lower back pain, especially sudden lower back pain is one of those conditions that is usually classed as “non specific”, since it tends to be the case that not one “specific” disease or problem is identified as being responsible for the cause of the pain.  In some people it can be due to an overstretched, over tight or weak ligament or muscle, even some problem that can arise from a problem in the tissues of the lower back, but as it is virtually impossible to determine the cause of the pain by testing, it is very difficult to say for sure why the lower back may be hurting.

If it is related to a muscle, ligament or tissue cause, the pain may be relieved by lying down, but there are other causes to lower back pain that one might not think of immediately, but do go away on their own eventually leaving you none the wiser for your crippling pain.

Quadratus Lumborum

This is the muscle that is overused, especially if you have a job that requires you to sit at a desk all day.  It is also a primary cause of lower back pain, along with the illiopsoas.  Its function is to bring the hip up to correct balance and posture, to help you straighten up from bending and to help you rotate your torso.  But it can be responsible for stress in the Sacro-Iliac joint by pulling it out of alignment.

Desk Jockeys” – people who sit at a computer all day frequently have lower back pain and the Quadratus Lumborum is often the culprit of this pain.  It can be caused by an over tight or weak Illiopsoas and it might pay to check these Psoas tests to see if these muscles may be a cause of the pain you feel.

The Quadratus Lumborum is one of the few muscles that gets overused even while you are sitting still. You may be onto something if your lower back pain is not derived from an obvious injury and the pain is located on one side.  Try not to sit with your legs crossed, this places too much strain on the Quadratus Lumborum muscles on one side.

If you have a sudden attack of lower back pain, maybe a little while after lifting something or simply placing or removing something from the boot of the car, then you may have strained this muscle.  Particularly if you have bent over while letting your lower back arch forwards.

Immediate pain relief is to apply heat to the area, rubbing the lower back, in a circular motion and I have also been told that lymph glands can become a bit sluggish, so by rubbing the upper inner thighs vigorously, both in the front and back of the legs, can help to relieve pain in some cases, as the glands in these areas are linked to this muscle.

Other reasons for weakness in the Quadratus Lumborum

This muscle is linked to the large intestine in kinesiology, so if your bowel movements are less than optimum, you may also experience headaches along with the lower back pain, indicating that the cause of the pain is something other than structural.  Adequate dietary fibre (wheat free – bran irritates the bowels into opening) is needed if you are constipated.  Pears are great – full of soluble fibre, oats are good too.

Psyllium husk/hulls are fantastic, you can add a little to your whey protein shake to keep up your fibre intake. You can also try cultured yoghurt and acidophilus probiotic supplements to restore balance.  The vitamins I am told that can support these muscles are A,C and E.

Stretch

It is necessary to stretch these muscles to regain suppleness after injury, please refer to the above video.  But if it doesn’t get better completely after a few weeks of stretching, then either you haven’t addressed the daily punishment you are putting them through, or ou may need to see a professional to perform some rehabilitation with you to release possible knots in the myofacia.

Strengthen

Strengthening the lower back muscles is a good decision to prevent further attacks of pain, you can do this effectively by participating in weight training classes such as Bodypump – this is the best option for newcomers as the instructor can brief you fully before the class and keep an eye on you throughout.

Side planks, kettlebells windmills and side bends using a stability ball can help to further strengthen these muscles.

ICV Valve

One such cause is the ICV valve between your small and large intestine.  I know about this as I was treated for a “shut” valve by a kinesiologist.  I had pain that left me squirming in my seat if sitting and was crippling when standing upright.  This valve is situated below the navel to the right about halfway towards the hip (but everyone is different so prod around the area and see if you get an area of soreness).

The kinesiologist took the back pain away in around 10 minutes: the treatment involved rubbing the feet in a certain direction, points of the legs, lymph glands in the thighs, shoulders and middle of the back, holding points in the elbow and the hands and a rather uncomfortable correction with the valve itself involving a clenched hand going into the sore area slowly, breathing into the pain which actually reduced on its own.

Treatment

lower back pain

If you have pulled a muscle, you can treat it with hot and cold packs, as well as gentle exercise to keep the flexibility in the back.  It is shown that if you keep mobile during an episode of lower back pain, then you should be able to recover more quickly than if you were sitting or resting.

Non specific back pain should be gone or greatly eased within a week, however it can linger to four to six weeks before total improvement is seen.

But here are some symptoms that could indicate that there is a more serious underlying cause:

  • Numbness, tingling or pins and needles in a foot or a leg
  • Constant pain that is not relieved by rest
  • Gradually worsening pain
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control or sensation
  • Pain that interferes with sleeping
  • Numbness in the anal region
  • Morning stiffness that lasts more than half an hour after rising
  • Weight loss, night sweats or feverishness

If you suffer from any of the above and happen to be under 20 years of age or above 50, please visit your GP.  Lower back pain is generally the “non specific” kind that does go away on its own in most cases, but also consider a visit to a kinesiologist, as both the Quadratus Lumborum muscles and the ICV valve can be affected by a huge range of causes, from emotional ones to health and nutrition.

Massimo (Max) Vencato holds a doctorate (PhD) in Sports and Exercise Psychology and a Degree in Sports Sciences (first class with honours). He works today as a cardiac rehabilitation trainer, personal trainer (specialising in weight loss) and lecturer in Sports and Exercise Psychology at Brunel University London.

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One Response to “Lower Back Pain: Could It Be Your Quadratus Lumborum?”

  1. Ladaryon Martin says:

    Thanks… this was a great read. Ive been wondering why it hurts only when I’m ssittingi usually work out alot and stay active throughout the day but I work nights so I sit alot then

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