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QL Syndrome

What is the Quadratus Lumborum (QL) muscle?

The QL is a deep muscle in the lower back. It extends from the last rib to the top of the pelvis and contracts with sitting, standing, and walking. It is responsible for stabilizing the lumbar spine and helping with hip movements.

QL Syndrome is a condition that results when the QL muscle becomes irritated or inflamed. QL syndrome causes pain in your lower back and hips. It can develop from an injury, repetitive motions, or poor posture.

The QL muscle is often a trigger point and location of referred low back pain. It is a major cause of chronic low back pain. Chronic low back pain impairs quality of life and well-being.

It is frequently caused by overuse but can also result from muscle weakness and muscle strain.

Common causes are:

  • Sitting for too long
  • Standing for too long
  • Repetitive twisting movements
  • Weak muscles
  • Poor posture
  • Uneven leg length
  • Trauma

QL pain is myofascial pain caused by muscle spasm and stiffness. When this muscle is irritated, it can cause a variety of symptoms, including low back pain, buttocks pain, hip pain, and leg pain and stiffness.

Trigger points are injured muscles that produce pain when stimulated. QL trigger point pain may be dull and achy or sharp and stabbing. It may be worse when you move around or when you cough or sneeze. You may also have trouble moving the legs, numbness, tingling, and muscle spasms or cramping.

The expert team at LALL Orthopedics+ will review your medical history and ask about your pain, what you are feeling and what causes your pain including overuse and repetitive movements like gardening, heavy lifting, work related motions or walking on uneven surfaces. They will conduct a focused physical exam of low back muscles looking for trigger points to diagnose QL muscle pain. Diagnostic trigger point injections may be used to diagnose your pain.Imaging studies like X-Ray or MRI may be ordered to rule out other causes of low back pain.

Treatment for QL Syndrome typically includes rest, ice, and heat therapy. Stretching and strengthening exercises including yoga may also be recommended. Muscle relaxers and pain medication may help relieve pain. Chiropractic and massage therapy can also be helpful to treat pain. If the condition is severe, our clinicians may prescribe formal physical therapy or image-guided trigger point injections to help reduce muscle spasms and pain. Injection options range from Botox to regenerative medicine like Stem-Cell Therapy or Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP).

Dry needling is an acupuncture-like treatment performed by our certified physical therapists that is safe and effective to treat myofascial pain such as QL syndrome. It involves the use a thin needle inserted into the skin to treat the QL trigger point.

If you believe you may have QL Syndrome, it is important to see your doctor so they can properly diagnose and treat the condition. With the proper treatment, most people with QL Syndrome experience relief from their symptoms.

Do you have any questions or concerns about QL Syndrome? Contact LALL Orthopedics+ to schedule a consultation and receive the correct diagnosis and treatment options.

If you have symptoms consistent with QL syndrome, schedule a hip consultation with LALL Orthopedics +. LALL Orthopedics + is led by renowned hip surgeon Dr. Ajay C. Lall. Dr. Lall is a former dual sport NCAA collegiate athlete (football and track & field), American board certified, triple fellowship-trained expert orthopedic surgeon. LALL Orthopedics + specializes in the treatment of QL syndrome.

LALL Orthopedics + has offices in Paramus, NJ, Philadelphia, PA and Belvidere, IL. Our team regularly sees patients from Bergen County, Hackensack, and Morristown, NJ.

At a Glance

Ajay C. Lall, MD, MS, FAAOS

  • Board Certified – Orthopedic Surgery
  • Triple Fellowship Trained
  • Performs over 750 Surgeries Per Year
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