The Usual Suspects

In the movie “The Usual Suspects” Kevin Spacey’s character Verbal Kint is a criminal who throws off the investigation by pretending to be a cripple walking with a strong limp. Spacey was able to achieve that limping gait by making one of his legs shorter than the other using a lower back muscle Quadratus Lumborum (QL), also called a hip-hiker muscle.

The QL muscles (one on each side) play a very important role in our bodies. They allow us to flex our trunk to the side, extend and stabilize our lower back and make it possible for us to stand on one leg without our pelvis dropping to the other side.

Quadratus Lumborum are what’s called postural muscles, which means that we rarely need them to do work (like for example our elbow muscles), but we need them to stabilize our posture when we sit, stand, or walk.

And when the QL muscle on one side becomes tighter than on the other, the thigh on that side will be hiked up into the hip, making one leg effectively shorter than the other. This puts stress both on the joints of the spine, and the pelvis with all the painful consequences. In fact when a client complains of a lower back pain, the QL muscles are my usual suspects.

Therefore, if you’ve been on my massage table, you might have noticed that I pay a lot of attention to your lower back, going over your QL muscles several times. Once doing the myofascial release, then stretching them with open fists, and then again with my elbows.

Just look at the facial expression of the maiden in this painting. You can tell what she’s thinking. “My lower back is killing me. How I wish I could have a massage at the Breathe Spa at 120, 717 - 7th Ave. S.W. in Calgary with Ilya Soliterman, a 2,200-hour Registered Massage Therapist”. But she can’t. Our Spa will not be opened for another 200 years. You, on the other hand, can. Go online or call us at 403-457-3060 and make an appointment.

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