Quadratus Lumborum (Q.L.) Stretch
Purpose: To stretch the quadratus lumborum or QL muscles located in the lower back between the bottom of the rib cage and the top of the hips. This muscle is responsible for trunk stabilization, extension and ipsilateral rotation/bend. When trigger points are present here, which is very common, they can refer pain into the low back, buttocks, and back of the leg regions. These muscles are commonly in spasms or irritated from prolonged improper leaning forward or poor posture when standing (ie. leaning over the sink while washing hands/dishes).
Instructions: Three stages or difficulties depending on how tight these and surrounding muscles are. It's important to loosen up the upper spinal muscles like the lats first, then move down to the QL and hips by changing hand and foot placement.
Part 1: place feet together and angled 45 degrees away from the doorway. Top hand is pulling and bottom hand is pushing away to increase the torque or stretch in the rib cage. It's important to stretch these upper muscles out first so that you can later get a better stretch in the QL.
Part 2: Drop the top hand down low hear the bottom hand and lean away from the doorway at a 45 degree angle. You should feel the stretch in the lower back now.
Part 3: Cross the outside leg/foot behind the inside one to exaggerate the stretch now in the QL as well as the lower muscles like the outer glutes and IT band.
Common Errors: Not leaning away from the doorway at the original 45 degree angle. Bending the knees or bending forward at the hips instead of laterally will also reduce the stretch. Not loosening up the upper muscles before trying to stretch the QL's may also make it difficult.
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Shelton Sports and Spine | Shelton, CT Chiropractor | Dr. Jason Queiros | Sports Chiropractic