The Muscles of the Back

muscles of the back

The muscles of the back are comprised of a series of interlocking muscle groups. These muscles are involved in the stabilization of vertebrae during spine movements. The contraction of a multifidus muscle produces extension at all levels of the spine, while a unilateral contraction causes ipsilateral flexion or contralateral rotation of the vertebrae. This article will focus on four muscles in particular: the Latissimus dorsi, Rhomboid minor, Interspinales, and Extensor.

Rhomboid minor

The rhomboids are two major back muscles that provide the same functions as their larger counterparts. They act at the scapulothoracic joint, retracting the scapula and rotating the glenoid cavity inferiorly. They also support the scapula’s position and are innervated by the dorsal scapular nerve and receive oxygenated blood from the dorsal scapular artery.

Latissimus dorsi

Pain in the latissimus dorsi muscles of your back is very common, and it can be caused by a number of different injuries. Pain from latissimus dorsi injuries will typically go away with rest and home exercises. However, if the pain is severe, it may be necessary to seek medical attention. Listed below are some common causes of latissimus dorsi pain.


The Interspinales muscles of the back are a group of intrinsically paired muscles that stretch between adjacent spinous processes of the vertebrae in the back. These muscles run the entire length of the spine, but are most developed in the lumbar and cervical regions. As such, they aid in the extension and flexion of the spine. The Interspinales cervicis, for example, is a pair of deep muscles that run from the neck to the top of the spine and attach at the transverse processes of the lumbar and cervical spine.

Extensor muscles

The extensor muscles of the back include the erector spinae, latissimus dorsi, and trapezius muscles. They also include the gastrocnemius muscle in the lower leg, which bends the knee and points the toes. The gluteus medius and minimus muscles help abduct the hip. In addition to extensor muscles of the back, the body also has abdominal muscles.


The trapezius muscle is a skeletal muscle that provides a framework for the bones and soft tissues of the back. The muscles of this group are made up of many individual fibers that bundle together, creating a stripe-like appearance. These muscles can be strained and can cause muscle cramps or spasms. People who are prone to back spasms and strains should contact a healthcare provider for an evaluation.

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