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lower back pain
lower back muscles
abdominal cavity
lumbar spine
low back pain
The Diaphragm And QL Connection: Secret To Alleviating Lower Back Pain
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The Diaphragm And QL Connection: Secret to Alleviating Lower Back Pain

People want and demand the very best lower back stretches in order to address low back pain. There are many exercises, but the approach is what's most important.

What do I mean? So here's something I don't think I've seen much of anywhere really, if at all.

When addressing lower back pain, especially with exercises and stretching, the thoracic diaphragm which is most definitely a muscle, as well as the quadratus lumborum (QL) muscles, are never really mentioned. They are not even brought up as integral in the body's overall balance and more specifically related to lower back pain.

Well, they should be. They're very important, and though not actual lower back muscles themselves, they have attachments to areas that directly affect the lower back, and if not kept in balance and in good working order, can directly influence the posture and lower back bringing about pain and discomfort.

The thoracic diaphragm is like a sort of dome that attaches from the bottom of the lungs, and also has its outside attached to the inside of the bottom of the rib cage. The thoracic diaphragm covers the organs situated on either side of the body. Mainly the liver on the right, and the stomach and spleen on the left.

It separates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity and also has a hole in it through which major nerves and blood vessels pass.

Very importantly, from the area of that hole there are two tendons which descend from the diaphragm and attach to the lumbar spine in the approximate areas of L2 to L4, the right side being longer and lower than the left. You can get an idea from the illustration here.

When we breathe and the diaphragm lowers, pulling down on the lungs and allowing for more space for the entering air, there is also a pulling and lowering which occurs at the attachments of these tendons in the lumbar spine and lower back.

The quadratus lumborum muscle has fibers from a ligament adjacent to and attaching to both the hip or iliac bone proper inside, AND the lumbar spine and the nearby part of the hip or iliac bone"crest". Where we put our hands when we get upset at someone.

The quadratus lumborum then inserts into the bottom part of the bottom last rib, and also via some small portions of tendons to the top four vertebrae of the lumbar spine on its transverse processes.

Sometimes another part of the muscle may be seen anteriorly. Originating at the lowest three to four lumbar vertebrae transverse processes, and inserting into the last rib's bottom border.

This muscle laterally flexes the vertebral column, while also extending the lumbar spine. It stabilizes the last twelfth rib during breathing, mainly on exhale, and also lifts the hip.

So even if these two very important muscles aren't actual "back" muscles per se like the paraspinals along the spine, they certainly have attachments to the lower back and lumbar vertebrae and act as necessary stabilizer muscles for the spine and yes the very popular back.

Tight hip adductors, weak hip abductors like the gluts medius and minimus, excessive sitting in a chair and / or using too much support in a chair for the lower back, and rounded shoulder with a hunched upper back, will all play havoc with our good friend the QL muscle.

So here's the big secret. We need to keep those muscles supple, stretched, and loose in order for them to function correctly and for it to affect our posture. Yes indeed. So we're going to stretch them but good, and here's how.

This one mainly focuses on the upper part of the thoracic diaphragm and on the side to side motion of the QL.

Stand, feet together, hands and arms above your head, palms up, one hand holding the other or fingers crossed. Pull up, stretching all the way, disengaging the thorax as you inhale to the max and expand your stomach with air. Now as you exhale, bend your body straight sideways to one direction, down as far as possible, while maintaining the maximum stretch and pull with the arms.

You should feel this stretch from your hips all the way up to your armpits. In this maximum stretch position continue to breathe deeply in and out for thirty seconds, expanding your stomach on the inhale, and letting it relax passively on the exhale.

Slowly inhale and straighten out. Repeat to the other side.

This next part is a continuation and focuses on the cruz or tendons of the diaphragm that I mentioned, as well as on the nearby parts of the QL that are involved in extension of the spine.

Start in the same position as before, standing, feet together, hands and arms above the head, palms up, one hand holding the other or fingers crossed. Pull up, stretching all the way, disengaging the thorax as you inhale to the max and expand your stomach with air. Now as you exhale, TWIST your body turning sideways to one direction, as far as possible, while maintaining the maximum stretch and pull with the arms.

You should feel this in the lower back and lumbar spine. In this maximum twisted / turned position continue to breathe deeply in and out for thirty seconds, expanding your stomach on the inhale, and letting it relax passively on the exhale.

For good measure and to increase the effect for both muscles and their upper and lower parts, in the twisted / turned position, you can also add the side bending element used in the beginning. BUT use with caution and care while continuing to breathe and do not aggressively move anything out of place.

There's the big secret. Excellent for you. Give it a shot, and give me a shout about how it feels and how it goes.

Wake up and start stretching!!!


Street Talk

Go for it!!!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Thanks - will be trying the two stretches.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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