14/09/2021 / Health and Fitness

Is your Quadratus Lumborum (lower back muscle) the source of your Back Pain?

Quadratus lumborum is a muscle which is located in the lower back region of our body, specifically, on either side of the lumbar spine. Here’s all you need to know about the muscle, the causes, symptoms, and treatment of the pain.

Is your Quadratus Lumborum (lower back muscle) the source of your Back Pain?
Mazia AhmedMazia Ahmed

Mazia Ahmed

MSc Nutrition Science, Ph.D. Scholar

Table of Content


  • With an increase in inactivity among people, back pain is most common nowadays. Pain occurs when you feel some physical discomfort while doing something due to any stimulation around the spine or your back anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you are a teenager or an adult; back pain is one of the normal events you will experience most often. It is normal in some cases, though, but the pain involved in this becomes unbearable.

  • Women in their forties or fifties often deal with this problem. Along with women, men also face the issue in adulthood as it is becoming so common these days. Even young people are experiencing this to some extent.  Back pain can happen to anyone irrespective of their age. But as you get older, back pain becomes more and more common for you. You will consider them as a part of your life. 

  • There are so many reasons behind your back pain, but the most common ones are your inactivity, sleeping or sitting in a wrong posture, etc.

  • Here through this article, you are going to learn about a muscle, "Quadratus lumborum," which is located in your lower back region on either side of the lumbar spine. 

What is Quadratus Lumborum (QL), and What is its Role?

  • If you observe the structure of the human back, it consists of the spinal cord and diaphragm. The complex structure shows a total of 40 (20 pairs) of muscles with ligaments, tendons, and bones. They have to work correctly for the movement of our whole body. Quadratus lumborum is a muscle sheet that attaches to the spine on one side and the 12th rib.

  • It also gives your body an upright posture and prevents the body from destabilizing. 

  • The primary function of the Quadratus lumborum is to stabilize both vertebral columns and the rib during the spinal movement. They also give flexibility to the back as they stretch when any extension is needed. When this process happens repeatedly, the muscle continuously strains and produces pain.

Is QL one of the Causes of your Back Pain?

  • Several factors can result in back pain, but you will see most of them are related to your lifestyle and your activities. 

  • Although, various muscles are present that give your back a proper posture and flexibility. One of the essential muscles present in your lower abdomen is the Quadratus lumborum, and it looks like a sheet that is mainly attached to either side of the lumbar spine. This muscle is responsible for your back pain most of the time. 

5 Primary Reasons for the QL Muscle Pain

Here are the reasons why this muscle causes pain in the back significantly, the lower back region:

1. Overuse of Muscle

  • Sometimes we use our muscles without giving any resting or relaxing time to them. This leads to pain in many cases. Repeated muscle usage involves stretching, bending, weight lifting, etc. that can cause lots of stress or strain in the muscle.  

  • When you find such a problem in you, it is better to go and see the doctor or physiotherapist. 

2. Uneven Posture

  • It happens when we are more likely to sit or sleep in a position that seems to be comfortable at first, but it can affect our normal muscle configuration. The doctor also advises keeping your posture in an upright position, and when you sleep, don’t lie down in the wrong posture.

  • Nowadays, when everyone is at their desk job, this one might be the biggest reason for your back pain. It seems normal earlier, but it can cause complications.

3. Inactivity

  • This is one of the problems in the younger generation when they are inactive or have nearly zero physical activity.  Without moving, they want everything in one place. This can reduce the movement of blood into all of the body parts. Blood then finds difficulty in moving into the muscle, which in turn creates pain.

5 Primary Reasons for the QL Muscle Pain

4. Tight Hip and Glutes

  • Hip and glutes are present on the lower back. If they are tight in their structure, it can lead to lots of loads on the muscles. This makes the muscles weak and generates pain while doing any activity. 

5. Injuries

  • Many external injuries that involve back muscle deformities cause pain in the back. Every day you do things that most probably lead to any back injuries. These can’t be ignored unless they result in complications.

  • It needs to be understood that all the muscles, ligaments, bones, and tendons of your back have to work together, and if only one muscle creates any stress, it can cause pain. 

Trigger Points of QL Pain

The point at which you feel enormous pain and the origin where any uneasiness starts refers to a trigger point.  There are broadly two trigger points where the pain in your QL initiates-one is a Deep point present in the lower section of the muscle, which is attached to the 12th rib. Another is a superficial point that you can feel in the upward direction of the muscle.

4 Major Symptoms of QL Pain

The pain itself is a symptom, and when it comes to QL pain, that is described as lower abdominal pain. At first, it’d be a dull pain that makes them normal, but with time, it becomes sharp and leads to an uneasy condition. Some of the symptoms of QL pain that you should observe on time and get treatment before it gets critical are:

1. You will feel stiffness and pain in your lower back region with little stretchiness when you sit or do anything. It becomes sensitive when little force or pressure is exerted on them.

2. Mostly in deep trigger points, you feel sharp pain which with time becomes unbearable. 

3. In fact, with little things which involve your muscle contraction or relaxation, like deep breathing, coughing, sneezing, etc., you will face extreme pain in that area.

4. Sometimes, the muscle tightens up, and it will change your whole body posture. You can observe them while you walk or bend.

Top 6 Treatments for QL Pain?

  • So here is the next question: Is there any treatment for this or any home remedies for relieving the pain? Some treatments don't involve any doctor involvement, but it also depends on the frequency of pain and cause of pain.

  • If any injury is there, then you need to consult with your doctor. The doctor will do CT scans and X-rays to check what is creating the problem, and then he could decide which treatment will be given to you.

  • Some of the home remedies and other treatment for the pain are:

1. Meditation and Yoga

This treatment is an effective natural treatment as it can be added to the daily routine. It is not something you miss even a day, even if you don't feel pain. It helps you stay fit and calm and straighten your muscle by making the regular blood supply reach the muscles.

2. Applying ice or heat

Usually, you should be doing this as your initial step if pain occurs in the lower region. Ice and heat can act as the best pain-relieving agents as they both can relax muscles instantly.

3. Exercise

This is something the doctor will advise almost everyone. Doing exercise daily for at least 30 minutes can normalize your whole body's blood supply. 

Is there any Treatment for QL Pain?

4. Medications 

It is one of the treatments you will take when there is lots of pain, and it becomes unbearable. The medicine relaxes your muscles and gives you some relief from the pain.

5. Physiotherapy

Under this treatment, the physiotherapist will give massage therapy to your whole back region, which relaxes your muscles and reduces the pain.

6. Injections

There are injections available for ease of pain, but you will be allowed to take them if the doctor prescribes them. They stimulate the trigger points and can release the pain.

Word of Wisdom

  • Back pain can be complicated when you don't cure them, especially the one which involves muscles. They can harm your whole posture and provide you unbearable pain. If you are going through lower abdominal pain or at the lower back region near your buttock, then it is indeed the pain of the quadratus lumborum muscle. 

  • It is not the only cause of your back pain, but it is the major one and needs to be taken care of. You can treat them at your own home, and for this, applying heat or ice would be the first step you could take. But if the pain is relatively high, you need to go to the doctor or your physiotherapist. 

  • You can avoid this from happening in the future by doing daily exercises, moving your body from time to time throughout the day, or doing meditation and yoga. These are some healthy habits that you can apply to avoid such a situation in your whole lifetime. Isn’t that easy?


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