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Stretching the Erector Spinae - Dr. Jonathan Kuttner



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Interestingly and contrary to what some of us have been taught the erector spinae muscles don’t hold the spine erect

In fact, it turns out that most fibers are electrically silent during postural work (Kippers 1984).

This muscle group is designed to activate during extension from flexion, i.e. standing upright from bending forward.


Erector Spinae Trigger Points

Erector Spinae - Common Trigger Point Sites


The erector spinae has three divisions each of which may manifest a trigger point.

According to Simons, Travell, and Simons, individual pain patterns of several trigger points that refer pain to the Lumbosacral region may blend into each other.

The video above shows a technique for stretching the erector spinae muscles following trigger point treatment.

Erector Spinae - Self Help




Kneel on the ground and raise one arm. Then rotate your shoulders and middle back while looking upwards.

Keep your arm pointing straight upward and follow your hand with your eyes. This will help to further extend the stretch into your neck.

Muscles Being Stretched

Primary muscles: Semispinalis thoracis. Spinalis thoracis. Longissimus thoracis. Iliocostalis thoracis. Iliocostalis lumborum. Multifidus. Rotatores. Intertransversarii. Interspinales.
Secondary muscles: External and internal obliques. Pectoralis major.

Erector Spinae

The erector spinae muscle can often play a large role in lumbar back pain. It is made up of many small muscles - longissimus thoracis, iliocostalis, multifidi, and rotatores – and runs parallel to the spine.

It is very easy to place too much stress on this muscle by bending over and twisting the body.

Carrying heavy objects can also overload the muscle and lead to the formation of trigger points.

Interestingly, the smallest movements are sometimes to blame. An example is sitting on your wallet – this tilts your hip and can bend your spine.

If the muscles in the erector spinae are too tight or have trigger points, certain movements might be painful. Trigger point self help techniques or massage therapy, can help release trigger points and alleviate pain.

Injury Where Stretch Might Be Useful

Back muscle strain. Back ligament sprain. Abdominal muscle strain (obliques).


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About Niel Asher Education

Niel Asher Education is a leading provider of distance learning and continued education courses.

Established in the United Kingdom in 1999, we provide course and distance learning material for therapists and other healthcare professionals in over 40 countries.

Our courses are accredited by over 90 professional associations and national accreditation institutions including the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). Full details of all international course accreditations can be found on our website.  

Printed course materials and other products offered on our websites are despatched worldwide from our 3 locations in the UK (London), USA (Pennsylvania) and Australia (Melbourne).

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We are honored to have received the 2017 "Excellence in Education" Award from the National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists.

Since 1999 Niel Asher Education has won numerous awards for education and in particular for education and services provided in the field of trigger point therapy.

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Niel Asher Healthcare course instructors have won a host of prestigious awards including 2 lifetime achievement honorees - Stuart Hinds, Lifetime Achievement Honoree, AAMT, 2015, and Dr. Jonathan Kuttner, MD, Lifetime Achievement Honoree, NAMTPT, 2014.

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In addition to national accreditation for continued education, each course that we offer includes "NAT Learning Credits". By taking and completing courses you can accumulate NAT credits to qualify for NAT certification.

There are currently 3 levels of NAT certification. Certifying NAT is a valuable way to show your clients that you take continued education seriously, and to promote your skills and qualifications.

Most of our courses are accredited for CE/CPD/CPE. A full list of CE accreditations can be found by clicking on the link below. 

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Niel Asher Technique

Since 1999 the Niel Asher Technique for treating trigger points has been adopted by over 100,000 therapists worldwide, and has been applied to the treatment of a number of common musculoskeletal injuries.

The Niel Asher Technique for treating frozen shoulder was first introduced and published in 1997 and has been widely adopted by therapists and exercise professionals working within elite sports and athletics.

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