In my massage practice, I have found that the quadratus lumborum are frequent problem areas in many people. Whether from sitting for long hours in a chair or doing strenuous physical labor, the QL muscles are frequently stressed, imbalanced and a major source of pain and discomfort.
When seeking to relax the QL’s from too much sitting, a great exercise is to simply lie supine on your back with the legs stretched out and the hands lying either on the belly or to the sides. Being in this simple position and breathing deeply can help the QL’s to relax and release the strain of overuse from too much sitting. It is best to lay in this position for about five to ten minutes as a minimum and you can do this longer if you like.
For people who overwork the QL muscles through strenuous labor, especially where bending over or lifting is a major factor, a simple pose to help the QL muscles relax and release is a three part series. First, lie on your back with the legs stretched in front of you and breathe. Do this for about two minutes. Next, bend the knees, raising the legs and bringing the knees toward the chest.
Massage And Stretching For A Healthy Back
Once the knees are in to the chest, begin to lower the legs and knees bringing the feet onto the floor. Plant the feet on the floor as close to the buttocks as possible with the feet parallel at about hips width distance from each other and the toes facing forward. The knees will now be bent with the feet on the floor. Curl the tailbone down and press the lower back into the floor.
You will feel the abdominal muscles tighten and the QL muscles will release. Breathe deeply and focus on the QL’s releasing and pressing into the floor. Place your hands on your belly or to your sides and be in this position for five to ten minutes, or longer if you desire. The most important points of this portion of the movement are to keep the breath flowing slowly and deeply, the tailbone curled under and the QL’s relaxed and firmly in contact with the floor.
Once you have held this portion of the movement for a time, then bring the knees into the chest, grasp the knees with your hands or wrap the arms around the knees or grasp behind the knees, depending on your range of motion. Bring the back firmly down onto the ground with the knees in and breathe deeply. Again, hold this portion of the movement as long as you like, from two to five minutes. Then, raise the head toward the knees, if your range of motion allows and continue to breathe deeply. This can be held for a minute or two.
Once you have finished the last portion of the movement, roll onto your right side with your knees still in and slowly push your self into a sitting position with the left hand on the ground. Then slowly come onto the knees or the knees and both hands and carefully stand and breathe.
Both of the movements presented herein can be used for QL relaxation and release, whether your issues are from too much sitting or too much strenuous activity. Please do remember, these movements are presented as suggestions and in no way should be seen as a substitute for medical advice. Always check with your health care practitioner before making any movement of any form, whatsoever.