Latissimus Dorsi

Latissimus Dorsi

Above is the pain pattern for the Latissimus Dorsi. Pain refers from the bottom of the shoulder blade to the shoulder and inside of the arm, as far down as the 4th and 5th fingers.

Activities Which Aggravate the Pain:
Picking up children, groceries or bulky objects and pulling them close to your chest. Pulling weeds, "lat pulls" at the gym.

Positions that Aggravate Pain from this Muscle:
Holding heavy objects close to the chest. This figure shows where the muscle is located in the body and how it is attached to the bones of the body.

Anatomy Facts - Latissimus Dorsi

Muscle Action
As the latissimus contracts with shoulder adduction and extension it also acts to downwardly rotate the scapula.

Muscle Origin
This muscle arises from the spinous processes of the lower six thoracic vertebrae (T6-T12), the lower 3-4 ribs, all of the lumbar vertebrae (L1-L50 and the sacrum.

Muscle Insertion
The latissimus dorsi inserts on the superior region of the humerus and fuses with the tendon of the teres major as it does so.

Muscle Innervation
From the thoracodorsal nerve and branches from C6, C7, and C8.

Trigger Point Locations - Latissimus Dorsi

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 - Latissimus Dorsi

A painful muscle will become more painful if it is forcefully contracted (flexed). Use this picture to test this for yourself with the help of a friend or family member.

Follow these Directions
Sit in an armless chair with your painful-side arm bent at the elbow across your chest, while your assistant sits in front of you with one hand cupping your elbow and the other against your forearm. Attempt to push your elbow down and backwards while your assistant prevents this movement.