Bend and Snap...all about your Quadratus Lumborum

For today's letter "Q" we take a brief look at the Quadratus Lumborum muscle, the QL for short. What is it?  Why do I have one?  Why should I care?  

Your QL attaches to the last rib and the lower lumbar vertebrae in your spine and to the top of the back side of your pelvis, your iliac crest.  Because of its square-ish shape and it's points of attachment, the QL is important as a stabilizer for your pelvis.

Not only helps your spine bend side to side;  when both right and left QLs work together they extends the spine;  It fixes the rib cage in place and it elevates the illium bone.

How does this relate to you?  Well...Do you sit?  Do you drive?  Do you take airplanes?   Do you run or squat?  Then your QL is contstantly used.  This constant use or constant contraction, like any other muscle, can result in tightness, pain and muscle spasm.

If the QL gets tight and therefore short, your whole spine can become pulled out of alignment. The lower back can arch more, creating a chain reaction of other postural issues, and muscle imbalances. 

In the video below, expert physical therapist and Crossfit Mobility creator Kelly Starrett shows how to keep your QL stretched out, so you keep the surrounding tissue happy.  (You can also stretch your QLs with seated lateral bending, and gentle twisting motions lying on your back).