World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Erector spinae

Article Id: WHEBN0024729490
Reproduction Date:

Title: Erector spinae  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Muscular system, Rectus abdominis muscle, Squat (exercise), Multifidus muscle, Lateral sacral artery, Longissimus, Iliac crest
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Erector spinae

Erector spinæ
The relations of the kidneys from behind. (Sacrospinalis visible in the upper left, side-by-side the spine.)
Deep muscles of the back. (Erector spinae visible at bottom right.)
Latin Musculus erector spinae
Gray's subject #115 397
Origin Spinous processes of T9-T12 thoracic vertebræ
Insertion    }
Artery lateral sacral artery
Nerve posterior branch of spinal nerve
Actions extends the vertebral column
Antagonist Rectus abdominis muscle

The Erector spinæ is a muscle group of the back in humans and animals, which extends the vertebral column (bending the spine such that the head moves posteriorly while the chest protrudes anteriorly). It is also known as sacrospinalis in older texts. A more modern term is extensor spinae,[1] though this is not in widespread use. The name of the muscle is pronounced e-rec-tor speen-aye, or e-rec-tor spinae-ee.

It is not just one muscle, but a bundle of muscles and tendons. It is paired and runs more or less vertically. It extends throughout the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions, and lies in the groove to the side of the vertebral column.

Erector spinae is covered in the lumbar and thoracic regions by the Thoracolumbar fascia, and in the cervical region by the nuchal ligament.

This large muscular and tendinous mass varies in size and structure at different parts of the vertebral column. In the sacral region it is narrow and pointed, and at its origin chiefly tendinous in structure.

In the lumbar region it is larger, and forms a thick fleshy mass which, on being followed upward, is subdivided into three columns; these gradually diminish in size as they ascend to be inserted into the vertebræ and ribs.

The erector spinae arises from the anterior surface of a broad and thick tendon, which is attached to the medial crest of the sacrum, to the spinous processes of the lumbar and the eleventh and twelfth thoracic vertebræ, and the supraspinous ligament, to the back part of the inner lip of the iliac crests and to the lateral crests of the sacrum, where it blends with the sacrotuberous and posterior sacroiliac ligaments.

Some of its fibers are continuous with the fibers of origin of the Gluteus maximus.

The muscular fibers form a large fleshy mass which splits, in the upper lumbar region into three columns, viz., a lateral, the Iliocostalis, an intermediate, the Longissimus, and a medial, the Spinalis.

Each of these consists of three parts, inferior to superior, as follows:


The iliocostalis originates from the sacrum, erector spinae aponeurosis and iliac crest. The iliocostalis has three different insertions according to the parts:


The longissimus muscle has three parts with different origin and insertion:

  • longissimus thoracis originates from the sacrum,the spinous process of lumbar vertebrate and transverse process of the last thoracic vertebrate and inserts in the transverse process of the lumbar vertebrate,erector spinae aponeurosis,ribs and coastal process of thoracic vertebrate.
  • longissimus cervicis originates from the transverse process of T6-T1 and inserts in the transverse process of C7-C2.
  • longissimus capitis originates from the transverse process of T3-T1 runs through C7-C3 and inserts in the mastoid process of temporal bone.


The spinalis muscle has three parts:

  • spinalis thoracis which originates from the spinous process of L3-T10 and inserts in the spinous process of T8-T2.
  • spinalis cervicis originates from the spinous process of T2-C6 and inserts in the spinous process of C4-C2.
  • spinalis capitis is an inconstant muscles fibres that runs from the cervical and upper thoracic which then inserts in the external occipital protuberance.
Insertion Lateral Column
Intermediate Column
Medial Column
Lower thoracic vertebrae and ribs I. lumborum
Upper thoracic vertebrae and ribs I. thoracis L. thoracis S. thoracis
Cervical vertebrae I. cervicis L. cervicis S. cervicis
Skull L. capitis S. capitis

From lateral to medial, the erector spinae muscles can be remembered using the mnemonic, "I Long for Spinach" for Illiocostalis, Longissimus and Spinalis.[2]


Examples of exercises by which the erector spinae can be strengthened for therapeutic or athletic purposes include, but are not limited to:

Additional images


External links

  • GPnotebook
  • 01:05-03 - "Intermediate layer of the extrinsic muscles of the back, deep muscles."
  • eMedicine Dictionary

This article incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy.

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.