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Improving Lower Back Pain with a Specific Muscle Stretch

Fitness

Improving Lower Back Pain with a Specific Muscle Stretch

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Improving Lower Back Pain with a Specific Muscle Stretch

Dealing with back pain, especially in the lower back, can be a common issue. If you’re struggling to target the exact muscle causing the discomfort, there’s a helpful stretch that might just hit the spot you need for relief!

“When it comes to back pain, one of the lesser-known muscles that deserves more attention is the quadratus lumborum, also known as ‘the QL’,” explains Liz Letchford, PhD, ATC, an expert in injury prevention and athletic training. “This muscle plays a role in raising the hip and providing stability between the rib cage and pelvis.”

The QL is a deep abdominal muscle located on both sides of the lumbar spine (lower back). Dr. Letchford highlights that this ‘sneaky’ muscle group can lead to back pain due to factors like poor posture, prolonged sitting without proper support, or a weak core. The strain on the QL can result in discomfort in the lower back.

So, how can you address this issue effectively? Options include gentle stretching, myofascial release techniques, and most importantly, consulting a physical therapist or movement specialist to prevent further injury from improper stretching techniques.

“The tightness in the QL often stems from dysfunction in the pelvic muscles,” notes Dr. Letchford. “While stretching can offer temporary relief, it’s essential to work with a movement specialist to identify potential compensations.”

Here’s a recommended gentle stretch with professional approval:

1. Stand in a doorway.
2. Identify the side causing pain.
3. Use the arm on the pain-free side for support on the door frame.
4. Extend the arm on the sore side over your head towards the opposite door frame.
5. Step with the foot on the sore side behind your stable leg.
6. Perform a gentle stretch, monitoring for any discomfort.

Dr. Letchford also suggests myofascial release using a ball to alleviate muscle tightness. Lie on your back on a yoga mat and position the ball under the muscle to release tension and address restricted tissue. However, caution is advised, especially around the area where the QL attaches to the twelfth rib near the kidneys. Exercise care during foam rolling or myofascial release to avoid kidney injury.

Back pain can arise from various causes, making it crucial to seek professional guidance for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

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