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Image of a cross-section of the torso showing the erector spinae, obliques, and latissimus dorsi
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Erector Spinae

Integrated functional anatomy of the iliocostalis, longissimus, and spinalis. Attachments, nerves, palpation, joint actions, arthrokinematics, fascia, triggerpoints, and behavior in postural dysfunction. Common exercises, foam rolling, and stretches for the lower back/erector spinae.

Brent Brookbush

Brent Brookbush

DPT, PT, MS, CPT, HMS, IMT

Course Description: Erector Spinae

This course describes the anatomy and integrated function of the erector spinae muscles (a.k.a. low back, erectors, paraspinal muscles, or paraspinous muscles). The erector spinae is actually a skeletal muscle group, including the longissimus, spinalis, and iliocostalis, and each may have lumborum, thoracis, and cervicis regions. This muscle group is located on either side of the vertebral (spinal) column, with attachment points on the sacrum, spine, ribcage, and skull, although these muscles are relatively superficial, sections do lie deep to other muscle groups like the scapular retractors, or lower back structures like the thoracolumbar fascia. The erector spinae are composed primarily of type I muscle fibers. The erector spinae muscle crosses the joints of the spine (facet joints), are the primary extensors of the spine, may contribute to lateral flexion and rotation, as well as anterior tilting of the pelvis, and nutation of the sacroiliac joint. This course also describes the role of the erector spinae in facet joint arthrokinematics, fascial integration (with the thoracolumbar fascia), postural dysfunction, and subsystem integration. Sports medicine professionals (personal trainers, fitness instructors, physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, occupational therapists, athletic trainers, etc.) must be aware of the integrated function of the erector spinae muscle for detailed analysis of human movement, and the development of sophisticated exercise programs and therapeutic (rehabilitation) interventions. Further, this course is essential knowledge for future courses discussing injury prevention and physical rehabilitation (e.g. loss of extensibility (tight back/stiff back), lower back pain, chronic pain, lumbar muscle fatigue, and acute spinal column injuries including herniated nucleus pulposus and nerve root impingement), the synergistic function of the erector spinae (e.g. extension of the spine with the latissimus dorsi and lateral flexion of the spine with the external obliques, internal obliques, and QL), and erector spinae exercises and techniques for enhancing sports performance (e.g. ensuring ideal erector length for optimal low back and core stability, strength, and power).

Brookbush Institute’s most recommended techniques for the Erector Spinae (see videos below):

The erector spinae muscle in a cross-sectional view
Caption: The erector spinae muscle in a cross-sectional view

Introduction to the Erector Spinae

3 sub-categories

Erector Muscle Actions

1 sub-category

Fascial Integration

1 sub-category

Postural Dysfunction and the Erector Spinae

Exercises and Techniques for the Erector Spinae

5 sub-categories

Bibliography

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1. Introduction

00:00 00:00