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Trigger Point Therapy - Stretching the Erector Spinae Muscles

Posted by Team NAT on


Stretching the Erector Spinae - Dr. Jonathan Kuttner


Erector Spinae - Notes to the Video Above

Interestingly and contrary to what some of us have been taught the erector spinae muscles don’t hold the spine erect. In fact, it turns out that most fibers are electrically silent during postural work (Kippers 1984).

This muscle group is designed to activate during extension from flexion, i.e. standing upright from bending forward.


Erector Spinae Trigger Points

Erector Spinae - Common Trigger Point Sites


The erector spinae has three divisions each of which may manifest a trigger point.

According to Simons, Travell, and Simons, individual pain patterns of several trigger points that refer pain to the Lumbosacral region may blend into each other.

The video above shows a technique for stretching the erector spinae muscles following trigger point treatment.

Erector Spinae - Self Help




Kneel on the ground and raise one arm. Then rotate your shoulders and middle back while looking upwards.

Keep your arm pointing straight upward and follow your hand with your eyes. This will help to further extend the stretch into your neck.

Muscles Being Stretched

Primary muscles: Semispinalis thoracis. Spinalis thoracis. Longissimus thoracis. Iliocostalis thoracis. Iliocostalis lumborum. Multifidus. Rotatores. Intertransversarii. Interspinales.
Secondary muscles: External and internal obliques. Pectoralis major.

Erector Spinae

The erector spinae muscle can often play a large role in lumbar back pain. It is made up of many small muscles - longissimus thoracis, iliocostalis, multifidi, and rotatores – and runs parallel to the spine.

It is very easy to place too much stress on this muscle by bending over and twisting the body.

Carrying heavy objects can also overload the muscle and lead to the formation of trigger points.

Interestingly, the smallest movements are sometimes to blame. An example is sitting on your wallet – this tilts your hip and can bend your spine.

If the muscles in the erector spinae are too tight or have trigger points, certain movements might be painful. Trigger point self help techniques or massage therapy, can help release trigger points and alleviate pain.

Injury Where Stretch Might Be Useful

Back muscle strain. Back ligament sprain. Abdominal muscle strain (obliques).











This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell. 




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