Physical Therapy Expert Forum
Muscle Compensation
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Muscle Compensation

I posted this in another forum but it seems applicable in this one as well:

I'm a 42 yr. old female who's had back pain for over a year after seemingly pulling a muscle during sit-ups. I've been under going trigger point therapy for about 9 months and it has helped tremendously with the pain. However, a recent evaluation by a physical therapist has revealed that the trigger points are a result of overload on the quandratas lumborim (? - QL).

It seems that whatever muscle in your abs that should bend your torso forward & back is "asleep" and therefore the QL is doing this work instead. I cannot remember the name of the muscle and the PT didn't seem to know why the muscle would be asleep. It was strange though because I could not engage the muscle. If I try to contract (like bracing for a punch to the stomach) my back muscles contract instead -- like my brain is not connected to the ab muscle. Any thoughts how something like this happens? Is this just a mechanical issue or could it be neurological?

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To answer your question, yes this can be a neurological issue.  If the muscle truly is not firing then there may be a complication in the signalling of the muscle.  However, it may also be that you are not able to perform the purposeful activation of the muscle when you ask it to do so.  In order to truly see if the muscle is/is not firing you would need to see a neurologist to have an EMG reading, which would tell the doctor if the muscle has any activity available.  The other possibility is that the muscle is simply very weak, which can happen in cases of low back pain and other muscles have begun to compensate for that weakness.  For any further questions feel free to post.

Best in Health,
JAG
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