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Longissimus Thoracis Muscle: Low Back Pain

Pain pattern of the longissimus thoracis muscle

The longissimus thoracis contributes to pain in the low back and buttock area. Pain is often more intense at the top of the hip or the bottom of the buttock.

  • Pain in the back starting at the bottom of the ribcage extending down into the buttocks, pain is often more significant at the bottom of the buttock
  • Pain in the back starting at the bottom of the ribcage extending down to the top of the hip, pain is often more significant at the top of the back of the hip and buttock
  • Difficulty standing when rising from a sitting position

Where is the longissimus thoracis muscle?

The longissimus thoracis is a muscle found in the deep back.  It attaches the low back (lumbar) vertebrae to the upper and middle back (thoracic) vertebrae and to the lower 9 to 10 ribs.

What movements does the longissimus thoracis muscle control?

  • Straightens (extends) the back (vertebral column)
  • Twists (rotates)the back side to side
  • Side bending (lateral flexion)
  • Tilting the pelvis
  • Assists to maintain spinal curve
  • Assists with breathing by drawing the ribs downward

Activities that cause pain and symptoms of the longissimus thoracis:

  • Bending and twisting when lifting
  • Straining when trying to lift something too heavy
  • Whiplash of the lower back
  • Extended periods of sitting in a car or plane

Interesting facts about the longissimus thoracis:

  • The longissimus thoracis along with the iliocostalis and the spinalis are the mound of muscles that are felt running down beside the spine.  They serve as a checkrein when you bend over and allow you to straighten back to a standing position.
  • Is also known as the longissimus dorsi muscle
Longissimus Thoracis Muscle

You use the longissimus thoracis to straighten your back and twist side to side. This muscle helps the back maintain its curve.

Clinical diagnoses to which the longissimus thoracis muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Sprain/Strain Syndrome
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Prolapsed disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Lumbar Spine Hyperlordosis
  • Thoracic Spine Hyperkyphosis
  • Sciatica
  • Scoliosis
  • Stenosis
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • Rib Subluxation (Slipping Rib Syndrome)
  • Hip Pointer
  • Dislocated Hip
  • Pulled Hamstring
  • Cauda Equina Syndrome
  • Gynecological Disorders
  • Prostrate Disorders

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the longissimus thoracis muscle:

Satellite trigger points: Latissimus dorsi, Quadratus lumborum, Serratus posterior superior, Serratus posterior inferior, Psoas major

For detailed anatomy information see: Longissimus Anatomy: Origin, Insertion, Action and Innervation

Help with Longissimus Thoracis Muscle Pain

Cold Therapy Gel For Middle and Low Back Injury and Pain

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel and I recommend it for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries.  It is better to use than warm therapy gels and creams for muscle pain caused by inflammation as it cools the area much like ice.  A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. If  your pain is from a recent back injury I would recommend Biofreeze.
Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury
Hot / Cold Wrap for Lumbar Pain

There are many things that I like about the Elasto Gel Hot & Cold Wrap for Pain in Lower Back.

  • It can be used for either hot or cold therapy, no need for two separate items.
  • It can be comfortably worn to provide hot or cold therapy while you are up and moving. The gel mixture and 4-way stretch material conforms to the body to provide excellent treatment and comfort.
  • It is durable.
  • Fourth is the sacral tail that comes down covering the sacral area. The sacrum and the area surrounding it is often involved low back pain, yet it is often not a focus when treating with heat or cold therapy.

The Elasto Gel Wrap comes in two sizes: Small fits 24 inch to 36 inch waists.
Large fits 36 inch to 52 inch waists..


Warm Therapy Gel For Middle and Low Back Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and in my massage therapy practice. It provides warmth without burning heat and is great for relieving pain.  Applying Sombra to the muscles along the  length of the spine, and  across the lower back, hip and buttocks can help reduce pain and tightness caused by the longissimus thoracis muscle. I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and pain from arthritis.

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.

Large Weighted Hot Cold Packs For Back Pain and Injury

SofTouch Large Hot Cold Pack  is a large pack that can be used for hot or cold treatment. The pack is large enough to cover the longissimus thoracis muscle and wrap down to cover the top of the hips. The inside of the pack contains a clay like substance that remains soft and pliable so you can mold the pack to your body. The outside of the pack is wrapped with soft suede like material that does not shock the skin when touched. My clients love this pack and it is now the only hot and cold pack that I use in my massage therapy practice.


Recommended Back Support Low Back Pain – Exceptional Relieve From Low Back Pain

I seldom rave about products, but this is one product it would be hard for me to do without! The name Professionals Choice name is well known in horse industry and is highly regarded for their top quality products that work.

The Pro Choice Low Back Support  is my go to back brace. This brace has helped me more than any other with low back and low abdominal pain. The lumbar pad provides support without the uncomfortable restriction and poking of metal supports. The band is wide, covering the entire lower back.  It has an adjustable Velcro front closure along with adjustable Velcro side panels which can be tightened or loosened to provide support and compression.  The brace also reflects your body heat back into the muscles, providing warmth to tight sore muscles. For those with recent injuries or flare ups, it is comfortable enough wear all night and will not disrupt your sleep.

The brace is made of closed-cell, limestone-based Neoprene which is extremely durable and resilient. The brace retains it's shape over years of use and does not absorb moisture.  It can be machined washed on the gentle cycle.

I have recommended this brace to many clients and friends with chronic low back pain and every one has commented how much it helps relieve their pain and helps with mobility. As with other back braces, it may not help much with sciatica pain, but it can provide additional support and warmth to low back muscles which may bring some relief. But if you have muscle, tendon or ligament injuries, new or old, I highly recommend that you try this brace!

Sizing: Small and Medium fits waists 22" - 38". Large fits waists 24" - 40". X-large fits waists 41" - 50. XX-large fits waists 51" - 60".


Trigger Point Self  Treatment For Middle and Low Back Pain

Do you know that muscle 'knots' or other dysfunction in the longissimus thoracis muscle can cause pain in the ribs, low back, hips, and buttocks?  This pain can make it incredibly painful and difficult to stand from a sitting position.

If you are interest in treating back pain caused by trigger points I  recommend you purchase Claire Davies  The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief.  Mr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language.  But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain,  how to find the trigger point and treat it. If you suffer from unresolved back, hip, buttock and leg pain I highly recommend this book. It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body. Relieving trigger points have helped many people resolve their pain issues. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.

The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body.
The Theracane Massager  is a self treatment massage tool for use on those hard to reach areas on the neck, shoulders, back, hips and legs. If you are considering buying the book The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook, you will need to buy the Theracane to use the treatment methods detailed in the book.

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