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Extremely Tight QL?


So my right quadratus lumborum has always been pretty tight, especially after deadlifting, squats, etc. I went on a cruise last week and for some reason, my right QL tightened up progressively over the trip. I wasn't being that active, either. It just tightened up over the course of five days, and now this tightness is beyond a minor annoyance, to the point where I'm not going to the gym and have to sit/sleep in certain ways. It doesn't seem like it's gotten better in the past four days, which is odd... I figured it will loosen up by itself.

I'm assuming it's the right QL because it's only on the right side, very deep, and I can feel trigger points all over the area (by pelvis and under rib). I also feel it go nuts when I sneeze. I've read all the previous threads on the QL, btw, I'm just seeing if anyone has any advice. At this point I think only ART can get rid of it.

edit: I get the pain basically whenever the QL moves... extending/flexing the lower back, as well as lateral flexion (left or right). Pain is only on to the right of the lumbar spine.


your what?


I have that same issue, worst on my left side. I usually avoid deadlifts for that reason, and rack pulls are a definite no.


If you think its trigger points have you tried anything yourself? Some of this muscle is accessible to your own fingers and a tennis ball.


Actually, yes. And I've been having better success than my chiro... Laying on my back on my bed, I took a theracane and jabbed a trigger point on my right QL, flexed laterally to my right, and then went along with the muscle w/ my theracane as I stretched out my right QL (laterally flexing to left). Basically poor man's ART, and it worked surprisingly well.

Also, more core work recently (along with back extensions) has done a lot. I guess my lumbar erectors/other core muscles have picked up the slack for my shitty QL.


ooh hey i think my left one of those is what i keep injuring. overuse injury i think. you had luck with jabbing it about?? when i tried i jabbed myself an injury. i've been wondering about whether it is a good idea to stretch it... or whether it is a better idea to leave the lumbar region the hell alone.

i've been going with the 'leave it the hell alone' thing since i was out of action for a couple months having jabbed myself an injury when i tried to make it better myself.

my thoughts on 'it hurts when i flex my spine' (which mine does) was 'stop flexing your spine!!!'. so, uh, i did...

but now my spine is seized?? stabilized?? to the point where i can't pilates roll...

other people seem to feel different.

i don't know.



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wiki says sitting on your butt is a likely culpret. looks like the region is a lumbar erector?? hence probably overactive?? how your abs / glutes been activating??


sorry BBB didnt see you there...

are there gentle things one can do oneself to get that area to decramp?? i'm lying awake right now (pillow between my knees) aching...


I had QL issues for nearly a year. If you're suffering an acute attack, putting it under a gentle stretch will stop the muscle from spasming. As BBB alluded, the QL seems to suffer most when the musculature of the trunk isn't doing it's job supporting the body.

The QL acts much like a guide-wire holding up a tent. If the tent-pole isn't doing its job (in this case, primarily the multifidus, but weak abs will also elicit hypertonicity in the spinal erectors), then the guide wires are overly relied upon to support the structure.

After reading Stuart McGill, I found that unilateral leg work took care of my issues in a matter of weeks. I don't mean single leg knee extentions, but farmer walks, dumbell lunges, etc. Basically anything that forces the trunk to stabilize itself while ambulating. McGill suggests even hiking on uneven terrain with a weighted vest will work. While suffering from an acute episode, I like doing light-weight deads to warm the area up. You can try single leg deads, but know that your QL is responsible for hiking your hip and if you catch yourself doing so, you need to pause and really focus on keeping length between your hip and lowest rib.

Edit: I think the key to getting the QL to release is to stretch it while keeping a neutral spine. I know that seems strange, but one of the best things I've found is to traction my body from the hips. I discovered this at an Iyengar yoga class. They have these rope harnesses you put around your waist, then invert. It put a really nice, gentle stretch on my QLs without doing a side bend or a twist which just seemed to irritate an already cranky muscle. I tried an inversion table, but traction from my feet wasn't specific enough to my hips to be of benefit.




I don't stretch my lower back, and when I did the self-ART with the ThereCane, I only stretched my right QL a little... just enough to 'open it up'. I recall reading in a previous thread where BBB mentioned the myotatic reflex.


I'm glad you chimed in. Both of my glute med's are shit. My right QL is the tight one, but my left glute med. isn't any more tender than the right glute med... both are shit, to be honest. I found that out today where I put a lacrosse ball on the floor and rolled both my glute med's, like this (video). It was probably the most intense soft tissue spot I've felt, which is a good sign as I've found part of the problem.

As for the psoas, that could be... my hips pop/crack all the time when doing certain ab movement, is that indicative of an unstable SI joint? Hell, even squeezing my right glute really hard always gives me a 'pop' that puts the SIJ back where it needs to be, it seems. Any fixes for this you recommend?


wiki says sitting on your butt is a likely culpret. looks like the region is a lumbar erector?? hence probably overactive?? how your abs / glutes been activating??

It looks like the lumbar erector, but you can hit the QL quite nicely when you go at it from the side like the video. My glute work has been good (been doing hip extension/hip ER/hip abduction pre-hab movements), I think it's my lack of core work and back extensions for the lumbar erectors. I've only recently started adding those back in this past week. I just have to not be lazy with them. I wish I had a reverse hyper...


Nice... how do you properly work the multifi? Just compound leg movements or should you isolate it in some way if one suspects that they're weak?

I'm going to start doing single-leg work once a week. Just today I did Bulgarian split squats after my regular squats. Haven't done a proper leg workout in over a month b/c of my shitty shin splint issue.

As for lower back traction, check this out (go to 8:45). Been wanting to try this out.


Andy - how did you ultimately resolve your QL issues? I've suffered from back and hip issues for quite some time and recently had a major QL flare up. I would appreciate any advice you have on exercises, stretches or even practitioners (physical therapists, myofascial release, ART, etc) that you found helpful. I know that my gluteus are not properly firing and my psoas' are both tight/sore so I think we may have similar issues. i also experience that SI joint popping issues that you mentioned.

Thanks in advance.