Shown above is the pain pattern for the Erector Spinae. Since the erector spinae muscle runs the full length of the vertebra, pain may refer from between the shoulder blades upwards into the shoulder and chest, or downwards into the buttocks.
Activities Which Aggravate the Pain
Straining to lift objects, and movements that combine bending and twisting of the trunk.
Positions that Aggravate the Pain
Prolonged sitting and standing without relaxation. This figure shows where the muscle is located in the body and how it is attached to the bones of the body.
Anatomy Facts - Erector Spinae
Unilaterally they produce lateral flexion and rotation to the opposite side. Bilateral they help to extend the spine. They may also be used as accessory muscles for respiration.
They arise from the transverse processes of the vertebrae. They are also found deep to this medial and above the base of each vertebrae.
Inserts onto each rib in one or two rib segments. They also merge deep into the quadratus lumborum.
From the branches of the dorsal divisions of the spinal nerves.
Trigger Point Locations - Erector Spinae
You can find your own trigger points by using your thumb or finger to press on the spots shown in the picture. They are not difficult to find. Or you can ask a friend or family member to help you. Press firmly in a step-by-step manner until you find the exact spot that is tender. That is the trigger point.
By pressing firmly on the trigger point, and holding that pressure for several seconds, you will discover the pain lessens dramatically. In fact there are devices that can help you do this. We recommend a device called a "TheraCane" that can be purchased at many stores such as Sammons Preston Medical Equipment that has a mail order catalogue that can be contacted at 1 800 323-5547. The TheraCane is their item # 5244. The TheraCane can use be purchased at many local pharmacies.
Unfortunately this technique, known as acupressure, or shiatsu, provides only temporary relief. Some physicians inject drugs like Novocaine into trigger points, but these offer only temporary relief as well, and can cause scar tissue in the muscle.
Isometric Contraction Testing - Erector Spinae
A painful muscle will become more painful if it is forcefully contracted (flexed). Use this picture to test this for yourself with the assistance of a friend or family member.
Follow these Directions
Sit in a chair leaning forward at the waist while your assistant places his or her hands against your shoulder blades. Attempt to sit up while your assistant prevents you from doing so.