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Longissimus Thoracis Muscle: Low Back Pain

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.

What pain and symptoms are associated with the longissimus thoracis?

  • Pain in the back starting at the bottom of the rib cage 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 rib cage extending down to the top of the hip, pain is often more significant at the top of the of the hip and top of the 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


Longissimus Thoracis Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

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

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

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 associated with the longissimus thoracis muscle:

  • Latissimus dorsi
  • Quadratus lumborum
  • Serratus posterior superior
  • Serratus posterior inferior
  • Psoas major

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 than warm therapy gels and creams for recent injury muscle pain as it cools the area much like ice and does not promote swelling. 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 strain of the longissimus thoracis I recommend using Biofreeze.

Hot Cold Pack For Back Pain

CorPak Soft Comfort Hot & Cold Pack Wrap is a versatile pack that can be used to treat many areas of the body. This pack works well for the back as it is large and can cover a large area. The pack is filled with pliable gel and has a soft frost free cover that will not irritate your skin. For recent injuries, use it cold to reduce swelling. For older injures or chronic pain use heat to relax the muscles and increase circulation.

Warm Therapy Gel For Low Back, Hip and Buttock Pain

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

Highly Recommended Back Support For Low Back Pain

The Pro-Choice 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.

I have recommended this brace to many clients and friends with chronic low back pain and everyone has commented how much it helps relieve their pain and increase mobility. 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 waist 24" - 40". X-large fits waist 41" - 50. XX-large fits waist 51" - 60".

Trigger Point Self-Treatment For Low Back, Hip and Buttock 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 interested 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 ReliefMr. 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 in have helped many people resolve their back and hip pain issues. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.

Easily Treat Hard  To Reach Areas Of The 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. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook has diagrams showing how to use the Theracane to treat hard to reach areas.