Quadratus Lumborum….also Known as the Hip Hiker. A Big Culprit in Causing Low Back Pain.
The Quadratus Lumborum muscle (QL) originates on the iliac crest (hip bone) then inserts along the 1 st through 4 th lumbar vertebrae and the 12 th rib. This very strong muscle elevates the hip, helps sidebend and extend the spine.
Most one sided sports like tennis and golf tend to cause the QL to tighten and hike the hip, hence the nickname hip hiker. Because the QL is a postural muscle, tightness and restrictions can create low back and pelvic problems.
Balancing the QL then strengthening them is a big step towards preventing and resolving low back pain. Pictured below is a side plank exercise to strengthen the quadratus lumborum.
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Pictured here are just some of the problems associated with the spine. Any one of these problems from bulging discs, herniated discs and mis-aligned vertebrae can create pain of one sort or another. Some may require surgery. Others can be addressed by a chiropractor or a skilled massage therapist knowledgeable in body mechanics.
If you have any of these issues.The important thing is to have the problems worked on to create movement in the spine and restore hydration of synovial fluid and hyaluronic acid to the joint capsules. Otherwise, your back will stiffen up as a form of muscle guarding - the brain always sacrifices movement for stability.
Use it or Lose it... your muscle strength, your freedom, maybe even your life.
Three tests of strength that can help determine your life span
One of the primary reasons elderly people are institutionalized is a decline in physical function due to the loss of muscle strength. Recent studies have shown that three simple tests involving muscle strength can predict with astounding accuracy which middle aged adults are less likely to live a long and healthy life.
The following tests were done on a group of 1,355 men and 1,4111 women all aged 53. They were then analyzed ten years later (in 2012) at the age of 63. During that period 177 participants died.
The tests involved
Measuring grip strength with an electronic handgrip or dynamometer.
The average time it took to rise from a sitting to a standing position with a straight back and legs and then sit down again. ( it was an average of 10 complete times done as fast as possible)
The longest time, up to a maximum of 30 seconds, that one could maintain a one-legged stance in a standard position with their eyes closed.
Dr. Cooper and her colleagues evaluated the data and adjusted for variables such as lifestyle, health status and socioeconomic position among other things. Even after the adjustments those in the lowest 20% of physical capability were 3.5 times more likely to die than those in the highest 20%. Those who were unable to perform any of the tests had a death rate 12 times higher than those able to perform all three tests.
So basically muscle loss won't just get you institutionalized it also significantly increases your risk of dying earlier.
We all know we are supposed to exercise. However here are some of the excuses I hear (and some I have used myself) I don't have time, it's too cold, it's to hot, I'm too sore, my arthritis is acting up, I can't afford a gym membership, I don't have access to weights, I'm in such bad shape why bother, I'm too old.
Well it is literally never too late and if you are over 60 it is even more important that you do weight bearing exercise. So where do you start. The first thing is to get up and get moving. It's a bonus if you have access to weights and know how to use them properly. But it's not mandatory. You can use your body weight as well. Push ups, lunges , squats, bicep curls, arm raises with canned goods or water bottles all will work. Elastic bands are also a good starting point.
It's also important to increase your intake of protein if you are older. Research indicates older men may need as much as 40 grams of protein per meal versus 20 grams for younger men. Whey protein shakes are a great way to supplement your daily intake of quality protein.
How Does Massage fit Into all of This?
Massage can help loosen up those tight muscles before you exercise and help with muscle soreness after you start a program. Massage can also help keep your body in proper alignment. If your pelvis or neck is rotated and mis-aligned exercise could make matters worse and the pelvis and neck are two of the most common problem areas. I'll discuss these more in the next newsletter. For now get up and get moving. Remember that motion is lotion.
The spinal engine is a three part system as pictured above. When functioning properly the lumbar spine and thoracic spine counter rotate while the cervical spine rotates against the shoulder to maintain balance.. In other words the low back twists in one direction while the upper back twists in the opposite direction. The head and neck end up twisting in the same direction as the low back in order to keep balanced.
The working theory of motion always considered the legs to be the driving force of creating all the twisting and turning that propelled humans forward in a walking gait. That was until researcher and nuclear physicist Serge Gracovetsky demonstrated that the man pictured below was able to walk with no legs whatsoever. The man had no leg bones beneath his ischial tuberosities commonly referred to as the sit bones.. These are the bones you feel beneath your buttocks when you sit on a hard chair. This man was able to walk with no legs simply by using the spinal engine as described above. The gait was so perfect, when the person filming hid the bottom of the pelvis from view, it wasn’t possible to guess the man had no legs.
So How can this theory benefit you?
What can you do for yourself? You need to work on making your spine more supple and elastic if you want to walk more smoothly and efficiently with less effort. Most people tend to exercise in one plane. For example leg lifts are done one side at a time then sit ups, pushups or even planks are done with the body in a straight line. You need to work on exercises that twist and rotate the spine. Yoga and Tai Chi are great for this.
What can I do for you? In my sessions where I use Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques much of what I do is designed to use muscle energy techniques with client participation both free up tight muscles and strengthen weak muscles that contribute to the three parts of the spinal engine working properly.
Five Benefits of Massage
Five great reasons to get a massage for yourself or give a gift to the one in your life you would like to thank.
Improve range of motion
Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow
Realign body structures
Strengthen and tone weak muscles
Prevention of pain and poor posture patterns of dysfunction created by muscle imbalance
Perfect Gift Treat yourself or a loved one. Gift Certificate for a 60 or 90 Minute Massage
Holiday Sale Save over 25% Sale Ends December 24th.
EFT - A Great Tool For Healing Unresolved Emotional Events and Treating Pain
EFT is a powerful self-help method based on research showing that emotional trauma contributes greatly to disease. Clinical trials have shown that EFT is able to rapidly reduce the emotional impact of memories and incidents that trigger emotional distress. Once the distress is reduced or removed, the body can often rebalance itself, and accelerate healing.
Learn more about EFT by visiting www.emofree.com for tutorials, videos, and much more.