The Quadratus Lumborum (QL) muscle is one that can contribute to a lot of low back pain and imbalance when tight. QL muscle release is a great way to minimize this pain. If your QL muscle won't release, read on for some tips and information that may be the key to getting your QL to finally relax.
What Is The QL Muscle?
The QL muscle is a deep, structural lower back muscle that has the capacity to create a lot of problems when tight. The QL functions in spinal stability, maintaining a neutral spine, and in side bending. When treating patients with lower back pain, the QL muscle is a favorite target of physical and massage therapists.
QL muscle release can be particularly beneficial for active folks who beat up on their lower backs frequently. The QL constantly fires during activities that demand lifting objects, performing explosive movements (sports), carrying weight.
Quadratus Lumborum (QL) Muscle
Why The QL Muscle Won't Release
The QL muscle will not effectively release for a few different reasons. First, we need to look at what method you are currently trying for QL muscle release. Second, once we are employing the correct technique, there are additional reasons the QL may not release - and we'll cover it all here.
Reason 1: Only Attempting Stretching
If the QL muscle is knotted and contains trigger points, stretching the QL will prove difficult and unproductive. The short reason being you can't stretch a trigger point (see A Trigger Point & Massage Therapy Analogy video for a deeper explanation) . A trigger point must be effectively released through targeted deep tissue massage.
Reason 2: Using Too Big Of A Massage Tool
The QL muscle lies between the top of the hip and the lowest rib - which is only roughly 2-4 inches of space. We need a tool that can fit that gap nicely, and dig into the muscle tissue without rubbing against bone.
Reason 3: Using A Ball
This one may be controversial - but hear me out. When massaging the QL with a ball, there is no fixture to the floor, and there is uncertainty in the muscle. If the ball suddenly slides out of place or jerks around, the QL can re-spasm and tense up again. I greatly prefer a QL release tool that stays solid on the ground when I work my QL muscle.
Reason 4: Only Massaging Part Of The QL Muscle
As seen in the image above, the QL muscle has a fairly large surface area to hit with massage. Knots in lower back and trigger points tend to develop at the top and bottom of the muscle, so make sure to adequately massage the whole thing before giving up on QL muscle release .
How To Properly Release The QL Muscle
The best way to release the QL muscle is to use the only QL release tool on the market - QL Claw. QL Claw can overcome every obstacle to why your QL muscle won't release by eliminating every reason for error listed above. QL Claw was designed to release the QL muscle and the 4 other muscles that can contribute to low back pain when tight, and it has additional massage functions even beyond that.
Check out QL Claw's tutorials on QL release for written and video instructions on how to effectively release the QL muscle!
 Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.