Does quadratus lumborum pain plague your lower back? Does your back pain worsen with prolonged sitting and feel temporary relief during or after exercise? The quadratus lumborum muscle becomes tight and knotted in about 30% of patients with lower back pain in our office. This overactive and tight muscle could have several different root causes, but for temporary and fast relief, we utilize several different quadratus lumborum stretches.

The different quadratus lumborum stretches we use are dependent on a patients’ pain severity or fitness level. These stretches are in ascending order from easiest to hardest to execute. If any of these stretches produce a sharp pain or a pain that doesn’t feel like a stretch, consider trying a different quadratus lumborum stretch.

Seated Quadratus Lumborum Stretchseated quadratus lumborum stretch

For patients with severe lower back pain or a low level of fitness, we have them start with this exercise. Start seated with one leg bent and the other outstretched to the side. Reach for your outstretched leg and grab onto your ankle, gently pulling your chest to your knee. You should feel this stretch deep in side of your back that you are bending away from. If you feel too much of a stretch in your hamstring or behind the knee, slightly bend your knee.

Standing Triangle Stretch

standing triangle stretch for the quadratus lumborumWith the feet spread wide, slowly reach down for one ankle or foot with one arm while reaching upward toward the ceiling with the other. Grab your ankle or foot and pull your body down to increase the stretch. Again, if too much of a stretch is felt in the hamstring or behind the knee, slightly bend the knee.

Door Quadratus Lumborum Stretch

This stretch is by far the most intense and accurate stretch we have for the quadratus lumborum muscle. Follow along with this QL stretch video and be careful! If you do not have the proper upper body strength, consider doing the standing triangle or seated quadratus lumborum stretch instead.

Ring Quadratus Lumborum Stretch

This stretch with the rings or TRX straps gives our limber patients more options in terms of angling the hips to hit the quadratus lumborum and other muscles with more or less force. For some people, this stretch is not as intense as the door quadratus lumborum stretch. Feel free to comment below for any questions!