Breaking Down Quadratus Lumborum
- Quadratus refers to the muscle having what looks like four distinct sides.
- Lumborum refers to the area of the body, the lumbar area of the spine in particular.
- Quadratus lumborum is often abbreviated as “QL”
Attachments of the Quadratus Lumborum
- Iliac Crest (specifically the top and back part of the pelvis) The bone at the top and back of the pelvis is known as the Ilium.
- Transverse processes (bony parts that stick out to the side of each vertebrae) of lumbar vertebrae – usually just the top four lumbar vertebrae
- The 12th rib (That’s the last rib, also known as a floating rib because it does not attach to the rib cage)
Actions of the Quadratus Lumborum
This muscle has three potential actions:
- To extend the spine as in shalabasana
- To bring the ribs closer to the pelvis on the same side, known as lateral flexion
- It’s often referred to as the “hip hiker” as it can lift the pelvis toward the lower ribs on the same side.
Postures Where Quadratus Lumborum Contracts
Postures Where Quadratus Lumborum is Lengthened
Common Problems and Additional Information
This muscle is often associated with back pain, SI joint pain, as well as part of a larger pattern of anatomical dysfunction. I have already written a more detailed article about this muscle. I also discussed it in the larger pattern of psoas and gluteal relationship.
I often associate muscles in this area as part of the “splinting” response from the body when a spinal disc between the vertebrae bulges or herniates. Muscles in the surrounding area tighten or “splint” to protect and prevent further movement in the area.
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