T Nation

Lower Back Problems/QL


First post in this forum to see if anyone can provide some insight.

im a powerlifter, and in the last 6 months my squat and deadlift have been going down. At first, my training partners noted a tilt to the right as i squatted. I went to Chiro, sure enough i had some leg length discrepancy. L3 and L5 rotated... likely to to overuse of mixed grip sumo (thats a guess, but i could be wrong) Since being corrected in march, ive been in a steady decline, with my back feeling worse and worse. Ive been back to chiro several times, ART several times, and physio.

Last time chiro said sacrum was out of alignment, due to a tight piriformis. My right side QL is insanely locked up, bottom position of a squat affects lower back, even with bodyweight at this point. I also have an internal pop in my hip, which from what im gathering from my own research, is the iliopsoas flipping over the iliopectinial eminence.

Ive been very diligent with LAX rolling, foam rolling, magnificent mobility.

Im at my wits end, been dealing with this since march, last night i tested waters on deadlift after a layoff, and i went out of alignment somewhere, again.

any ideas would be greatly appriciated, and if anyone has experienced this, what did you do and how long did it take to fix you problem.

Much appreciated.


I would suggest that you continue with regular chiropractic care to address the alignment issue. My suggestion for a long term solution to the shifts that you are experiencing are mobility work (expecially hips and groin/adductors), foam rolling (piriformis, hamstrings, IT band, groin/adductors), trigger points (piriformis, iliopsoas), and core strengthening (especially anti-rotation).

I have had similar problems before. It took me a good 3 months to fix the issue once I finally was able to figure out the source of the pain. I do these same types of exercises on a daily basis (I just rotate which I do each day). Good luck.


Hey thanks, and yes ive been doing a lot of the things you mentioned, lots of rolling and mobility and all of that. what are some good anti rotation core exercises that you recommend? ive been doing various planks as well.


I like paloff presses with resistance bands (cable machines can be used too) the best for anti-rotation. Other exercises that I like for core stabilization that doesn't require any flexion or extension are bridges and planks off of physio balls, side planks off the floor (either on the elbow or the hand), scorpions off of physio balls (advanced move) and dead bugs (great for low back mobility).


Hey Justin, just curious how your thoracic mobility is. For example can you do good form overhead squats? The reason I ask is that if your t-spine isn't mobile, then the tension has to radiate somewhere and since you seem really on top of your hip mobility it was the first thing that popped into my mind.

Also, I don't mean to underestimate your PL form, but have you taken some videos of yourself to check your technique? I recently read a whole bunch of Mark Rippetoe's stuff on deadlifting, realized I was doing it wrong, and it totally changed the game for me.

Hope it gets better for you.


One last thing, it seems you had some legit injury/alignment issue in your lower back. It might be helpful to just take some time away to let it heal properly. I had some nagging pain in my lower back, which I thought to be my QL so I was hammering on it with stretching, scorpions, etc... and it got worse, popped more often and hurt more. I took 4 weeks off (terrible to be out of the gym) but it got better and went away.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Not to derail the thread, but is it abnormal to have popping in the lower back when doing prone scorpions? My back pops maybe once or twice on the first rep of the stretch with each leg but after that it doesn't happen again. I don't feel any pain but i'm sure that could change. It's almost like popping a knuckle of a finger.

I also have what the OP described as internal hip popping, which is actually painful at times but i only notice it when i'm sitting down or changing positions to stand up. Also happens during the "butterfly" stretch... if that makes any sense. I've been doing the m2 stretches to help loosen up the flexors, especially leg swings. Are there any other stretches that I should focus on aside from scorpions/swings? I've been trying to get my hands on a foam roller to do some of those stretches but I haven't been having too much luck.

Thanks in advance.


Can you talk about what each, inhibited/hypertonic would or can cause?



Fighting off a bout of this myself. Brett Contreras' book on glute training is worth a look. In essence, if the glutes are inactive, you can end up with an armload of issues that don't seem related. In my case, I have a very tight pair of psoas muscles to the point I am stuck in anterior pelvic tilt. Stretching (as in pretty brutal PNF stretching) is helping, as is kneeling several times daily on an Airex pad. The glute on my right side which was the worst (post surgery) is finally starting to activate right.

Just making sure you realize how bad this can be, pelvic tilt also caused a hypermobile T12 joint which in turn threw my upper body out of whack and gave me excruciating shoulder pain, which was consistently misdiagnosed for years as a "rotator cuff" problem. Thoracic mobility (everything but T12), glute activation and lots of face pulls are doing the trick. Last week I pulled 265 on a dead. Not much, I know, but last October I was partially paralyzed in my left arm from this and couldn't even hold a cup of coffee. I was pretty darned sure deads and all but zercher squats were a thing of the past. I am recovering nicely now (as long as I don't get all excited and screw it up.)

If you are getting an issue as bad as you say (no reason to doubt it) the whole thing might be a systemic issue which needs competent assessment and bevy of corrective exercises. Consider finding one of the trainers on this list and ask if they know someone local to you and get it fixed.

FYI I am 50 years old. 'k?

-- jj


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Hey guys. glute medius is very tender, on both sides. feels like a rough patch of tissue with lumps that downright hurt even with light pressure.

ive been doing lots of glute drills. then i test some squats and left QL locks up again. when i do cat/camel mobility, its the left lower back during the "camel" position that bothers me the most.

my whole hip area (especially piriformis) is pretty tight. ive been LAX rolling it and stretching. every day. as well as other mobility work.


Right psoas is fairly tight, front of right quad (rectus, or even pectineus as the ART person said) is similar to the QL, just super tight that no amount of stretching is helping.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


BBB, thanks! ill get my wife to massage that glute... ill be writhing in pain, shell love it.

Anyway, how does a patch of adheasion in the glute med/min affect the QL? Just curious

thanks for your help.

what can i do to prevent the adhesion in the future?


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


BBB my QL is feeling much better with more rolling and knee drive activation drills.

my issue now is anterior/upper thigh, which is actually the pain i first had before the QL issues.

basically when i lift my leg a fairly dull pain is felt in that upper anterior area... this pain seems to be greater when squatting. Upon examination of psoas referral pain patterns, my pain seems to be text book psoas trigger points. Im assuming the flexors are simply shortened and weak, so ive been trying to lengthen them and strengthen them.

the big question is, which trigger point is it?


I have the same overly tight right side QL. Left glute med is very tight and right glute med is lumpy and painful. what type of knee drive activation drills are you doing?


just place a band around the leg of a couch, wrap it around your angle and do various angles.

doing abduction with the band you feel it in your glute medius.

i also do clam shells with a band.


So, still having issues.

issues now are manifesting in upper adductors, and vastus medialis is pretty sore all of the time (not sure if this is related)

lower back is still tight, especially after sitting for a long time, i get up and its fairly centered on lower back.

i got xrays done, but not too confident in the analysis of it. they didnt seem worried, but im in pain still.

ive dropped all lower body barbell work. and even some single leg work, really bothers my upper adductors, im reading about this Osteoitus Pubis, but idk if thats what i have. (i can still walk pain free).

about the only thing i can do are single leg deadlifts and prowler pushes that dont seem to bother my legs or back.