Why does your back hurt? Is it your bacon?

Have you ever experienced severe, deep, aching low back pain throughout the day or even at rest? How about when you cough or sneeze? Does it feel like a sharp, knifelike pain when you move in the hips or low back area? This can be triggered by so many things, ie: heavy lifting, sitting all day, a sagging bed, even just putting on your pants in the morning can agrivate these muscles of the low back. But what and where are they really?

A majority of the time this pain is caused because of habitual sitting which contracts these muscles, depleting blood flow to the muscle ultimately resulting in oversue and weakness of the muscle. The QL muscle can spasm, offer up those sharp knifelike shooting pains throughout the hip and low back even down the leg.  There are quite a few ways to stretch and strengthen your low back especially your QL, gluteal muscles and piriformis.  Pilates can strengthen and stretch the muscles in ways you’ve yet to experience.

Today lets focus on the Quadradus Lumborum aka the QL. Your QL muscle is not a big muscle, there is nothing to be impressed about because its really small in size. Its hidden and is one of the deepest muscles of the low back and of the abdomen. You’ve heard me refer to it as the “bacon” of the back and that is exactly what it looks like. It’s also been referred to as the “hip hiker” muscle. There are 3 boney landmarks to help you find your QL muscle. The first would be the bottom rib, the 12th rib along your back side. This would be the upper part of the QL muscle and if you follow the 12th rib in towards your spine you will feel your transverse processes (the long arms off of the lumbar vertebrae). To be exact the QL inserts here along L4-1 on these transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae. Continue down along the transverse processes until you reach your hip bone the posterior part of your iliac crest (the back of your pelvis) and here you’ve outlined your QL muscle. You’ve now found your bacon! There are a few other muscles that can help trigger these symptoms of the low back pain you might experience and those are the Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus the Piriformis and the Gluteus Maximus. Heres an example of where and what those look like in comparison to the QL and where they trigger in your low back.


Want to get rid of that back pain? Have questions? Feel free to email me anytime at meghan@416pilates.com. Let’s set up your appointment today and start stretching and strengthening that bacon!

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