Muscle Anatomy: Quadratus Lumborum

July 25, 2023

Watch out for that hip hiker!

The Quadratus Lumborum (QL) is known as the “hip hiker” muscle because it elevates the hip. More specifically, the QL laterally flexes the spine ipsilaterally, and elevates the pelvis. It originates* on the posterior iliac crest and inserts** at the 12th rib and the transverse processes of the 1st through 4th lumbar vertebrae. This muscle is often implicated in low back, hip and buttock pain — even abdominal pain! This is the deepest muscle in the abdomen… not the low back!

*The origin of a muscle is the most fixed attachment point.

**The insertion of a muscle is the most moveable attachment point.

This muscle can be aggravated by repetitive movements like carrying a heavy handbag on the opposite side or carrying a heavy object repeatedly and using your hip for leverage. For example, carrying a heavy box, or child, or laundry basket on your hip; even over doing certain types of exercises that involve side bends.

In the image above, the areas of muscle marked with an X are where trigger points (“knotted” areas of hyperirritable muscle) occur in the QL. The areas of red are where the trigger points often refer pain. As Ida Rolf stated, “Where it is it ain’t!”