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Quadratus Lumborum Trigger Point Release

Quadratus Lumborum trigger points can be extremely painful and physically restricting. Trigger point from Quadratus Lumborum are known to cause a host of low back and hip issues, and they may be the cause of your pain [1].

Quadratus Lumborum Trigger Point Pain

The Quadratus Lumborum Muscle

The Quadratus Lumborum (QL) muscle is lies deep in the lower back and can bring a particularly debilitating, annoying pain to one's life. Quadratus Lumborum lies underneath two major back muscle groups - the Spinal Erectors (a.k.a. Erector Spinae) and the Latissimus Dorsi (a.k.a. Lats). Quadratus Lumborum is also sometimes referred to as the deepest abdominal muscle.

Quadratus Lumborum primarily functions in spinal stability and side bending. Without Quadratus Lumborum, high impact movements like lateral cuts on the soccer field would be back-breaking. During physical activities such as sports and lifting objects, Quadratus Lumborum is active to keep the spine strong and neutral. It is during these same activities that Quadratus Lumborum is subject to overuse, strain, and trigger points.

Quadratus Lumborum Trigger Point Release

Quadratus Lumborum Muscle

Quadratus Lumborum Trigger Point Symptoms

When investigating non-specific low back pain, Quadratus Lumborum trigger points should be at the top of the list [1]. Trigger points and muscle knots can be a primary cause of pain due to the constant muscle tension they maintain [2]. Constant muscle tension has the ability to tug on joints, create tightness, hinder flexibility, impinge nerves, and manifest pain in the body [2].

Quadratus Lumborum trigger points can cause a specific pain pattern in the body, as investigated by the great trigger point experts Travell and Simons [1]. in the image below, the bright red areas indicate where the Quadratus Lumborum muscle can refer pain on the body [1]. Shown below is pain depicted by the right Quadratus Lumborum muscle, but both sides are susceptible to the same pain chart.

Quadratus Lumborum Trigger Point Chart

Quadratus Lumborum Referred Pain Patterns [1]

Quadratus Lumborum Trigger Point Release

Quadratus Lumborum trigger point release can be done by the hands of a physical or massage therapist, difficultly with a ball, or easily with a targeted massage tool like QL Claw. QL Claw is the only massage tool designed specifically for Quadratus Lumborum muscle release, as well as self release of all 5 major muscles that can contribute to low back pain. QL Claw has written and video tutorials on how to easily and effectively release Quadratus Lumborum trigger points for optimal relief.

After Quadratus Lumborum Trigger Point Release

After effectively releasing Quadratus Lumborum trigger points, it is important to strengthen the muscle to ensure resilience, durability, and long-lasting pain relief in the future. It is important to release Quadratus Lumborum trigger points prior to strengthening the muscle, because strengthening will not remove the constant muscle tension that can be causing pain. After thorough Quadratus Lumborum release, the next objective should be exercising the QL muscle to build strength and endurance in the low back.

Check out our article on Quadratus Lumborum strengthening exercises next!






[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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