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Lower Back Muscle Spasms | The Muscles Behind Your Pain

Lower back muscle spasms are the worst. Spasms in the lower back can make every slight movement painful, and severely hinder your life. In this post, we are going to discuss why the lower back spasms in the first place, and also learn about the specific muscles that tend to lock up when the lower back muscle spasms occur.

Lower Back Muscle Spasms


Lower Back Muscle Spasms - Hope

When the lower back is in spasm, it can feel like every muscle is as hard as a rock. Even worse, it can feel like there is no way out of spasm. This article sheds light on why the lower back can spasm, and a few muscles that may be contributing to the pain caused by spasms.


Why Lower Back Muscle Spasms Occur

Lower back muscle spasms are the result of a protective mechanism against spinal damage. When the lower back is under extreme stress, certain muscles have to lock up to prevent structural damage to the spine. Lower back muscle spasms can be triggered in a variety of ways, but most can be placed into two buckets: 1) spasms from a single event and 2) spasms from accumulated stress.

1) Muscle spasms from 1 single event - this happens from one extreme, high-impact event. These events can include (but are not limited to) a car crash, lifting a very heavy object, or jumping off of a building. When lower back muscle spasms occur from a single event, the causal event is quite easy to identify.

2) Muscle spasms from accumulated stress - this happens gradually over a long period of time. A few examples of gradual muscle spasms include perpetually slouching at a desk, consistently lifting weights with poor form, or repeated stress from a manual labor job. These spasms can be harder to identify because everything is all fine and dandy until BOOM your lower back is at an 8/10 of pain - without doing anything out of routine. This can be triggered by something light like picking up a sock off the ground, but that is just the straw that broke the camel's back (or your back).


The Muscles Behind Lower Back Spasms

There are 4 muscles that I personally had issues with when my lower back was in spasm - and I'm going to cover them all here. This is not to be taken as medical advice, but rather an experience that could shed light on what appears to be the inexplicable, phantom pain that is lower back muscle spasms.

Quadratus Lumborum (QL):

The Quadratus Lumborum (QL) muscle lies deep in the lower back and is crucial in spinal stability. QL loves to lock up when the integrity of the spine is at risk because its spasms can keep the spine stiff and safe from damage.

QL Muscle Lower Back Spasms

Gluteus Medius:

The Gluteus Medius muscle is the upper-side Glute muscle on the back of the body. Gluteus Medius helps stabilize the pelvis and can lock up during spasms from a single event. Gluteus Medius is also involved in lifting objects, so a lifting-induced injury may have something to do with this muscle [2].

Gluteus Medius Lower Back Muscle Spasms


The Psoas muscle and back pain go together like Tom Brady and Super Bowl wins. Everyone hates it, but it is predictable and they always seem to go hand in hand. Psoas is a hip flexor muscle that connects to the lumbar vertebrae and can lock up to restrict the lower back's mobility in times of stress.

Psoas Lower Back Muscle Spasms


Iliacus muscle pain is nearly identical to that of Psoas. Iliacus is also a hip flexor muscle, but it connects to the pelvis instead of the lumbar spine.

Iliacus Lower Back Muscle Spasms


Release Of Lower Back Muscle Spasms

When lower back muscle spasms are bad, the only way out is often deep tissue massage. The muscles are guarding, and physical manipulation is a great way to help them simmer down and stop causing you pain.

Deep tissue massage for muscle release can be done by the hands of a professional physical therapist, chiropractor, or massage therapist - or at home with a purposefully made tool like QL Claw.

QL Claw is the only tool on the market that can effectively reach and massage all 4 muscles described above. I created QL Claw because I had years of tightness and problems with these muscles, and I could not find a tool to effectively release them through massage (read my story here). With QL Claw you can give yourself a deep, therapeutic massage directly to those hard-to-reach lower back muscle spasms that need it. Check out QL Claw at the link below!


Lower Back Muscle Spasms - QL Claw
 QL Claw - The Best Tool For Lower Back Muscle Spasms
QL Muscle Won't Release Tool


[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.

[2] Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.

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