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20 m a s s a g e & b o d y wo r k s e p te m b e r/o c to b e r 2 0 2 3 Romeo and Juliet are not the only star- crossed lovers to have existed; there are doomed romances throughout history. But the ill-fated relationship I want to expose today is that of the psoas and the quadratus lumborum (QL). These deep core muscles are so close together they could touch, yet so far apart that they rarely get recognition as a couple. But they are indeed partners (to a degree) and, like most star-crossed lovers, their fate is sealed— unless someone like you steps in to help. If you look at the orientation of these two muscles next to each other, you can begin to imagine how their positioning could undermine an otherwise healthy relationship. Situated just posterior to the psoas, the QL originates at the posterior iliac crest, reaches up to insert onto the transverse processes of L1 through L4, and then extends even farther to grab on to the 12th rib. Conversely, hibernating just anterior to the QL, the psoas originates at the transverse processes and the bodies of L1 through L5, snuggles into the iliac fossa, then reaches down to grab on to the lesser trochanter of the femur. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER Think about it like this: The QL is associated with the low back, starting inferior and reaching up. The psoas is associated with the hip, starting superior and dropping down. They create opposing actions. The QL brings the back into extension while the psoas brings the hip into flexion, but both of these muscles throw a wrench into the origin/insertion/ action rule. They each have the ability to not only bring their insertion closer to their origin as the rule dictates, but also to switch things around and anchor their insertion, creating movement in their origin. We see the QL hike up the hip and we see the psoas pull the spine into flexion. I would argue that they do this in an effort to find love in each other and meaning in their surroundings—just like the rest of us. Our attempts to make sense of them have kept the QL in the back and the psoas in the front, and never the two shall meet. And yet, we see them contract in ways that make the spine and hips do incredible things; the fascia that separates them actually connects them. (I suspect they By Allison Denney KEY POINTS • A deep understanding of muscle function on the singular level can open your eyes to connections you haven't seen—connections that can mean the difference between satisfactory or exceptional relief for your clients. • Explain to your clients how the psoas and quadratus lumborum communicate—movement of the spine and hip isn't limited to these two muscles, but they do help us move in incredible ways. THE REBEL MT Opposites Attract Uniting the Psoas and QL TECHNIQUE

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