The Erector Spinae are a group of muscles in your back that commonly become overactive and tight.
In this article, we’ll show you 3 Erector Spinae stretches you can do from home.
Your Erector Spinae muscles run vertically up and down the sides of your spine. There are three muscles that make up the entire group: Iliocostalis, Longissimus, and Spinalis.
When there muscles muscles become really tight, they can look like ropes running down their back on either side of the spine.
Let’s dive into the ways that you can relieve that tightness and pain.
3 Erector Spinae Stretches
If you palpate to the sides of your spine around your mid back you may feel tender spots on those muscles. Those are trigger points that need to be released. You can release theses knots with self massage and stretching.
Stretch #1 – Release with Massage Ball
- Use a lacrosse ball, massage ball, or even a tennis ball to massage the muscle.
- Place the massage ball between a wall and your muscles.
- Make sure you put the ball to the side of your spine, and not directly on your spine.
- Massage up and down one side of the spine and then do the other side. Do not roll across your spine.
- Massage all the way up to your shoulders, even if only your low back is hurting.
When you find a really hot spot, aka a very tight muscle knot, follow these guidelines:
- Push into the hot spot and hold.
- Breathe in and out, moderate breaths.
- It may take 10 – 20 seconds, but it will start to feel better. Stop at 1-minute max.
- If it doesn’t get better in a minute, leave it alone. Move on to a different spot.
- If it gets better in 10 and 20 seconds, find another spot to work on.
* Pick three spots to focus on. You might find more, but for now concentrate on the three that are most uncomfortable and then do the other side.
If the hot spot doesn’t release in a minute, leave it alone. Come back to that spot the next time.
* You can do this self massage three times a day for as many days as you need. You should see that those muscles become less tender as you massage them.
Stretch #2 – Child’s Pose Stretch
- Begin by positioning yourself on the floor on your hands and knees with your knees slightly wider than your hips.
- Turn your toes inwards to touch and push your hips backwards while bending your knees.
- Once you’re in a comfortable position, straighten your arms forward and allow your head to fall forwards into a relaxed position.
- Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
- Aim for 3 repetitions.
- Next, move your hands to the right and stretch out your left side.
- Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat.
- Finally, move your hands to the left and stretch out your right side.
- Hold for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat.
- Keep your back rounded up a little so you get more of a stretch.
- You should feel the stretch in your low back.
- You should not feel pain, just stretching discomfort.
Stretch #3 – Modified Cat-Cow Stretch
This is just a modified version of the standard cat, cow, cat cows, a great stretch for what spinal mobility and just getting everything moving.
- Begin this stretch on your hands and knees, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Start with your spine in a relaxed, neutral position with your head slightly dropped.
- Exhale and slowly round your spine while pressing into the floor with your hands and slightly curving your neck to look at your feet (curve your back).
- Inhale and return to the neutral position
- Aim for 5-10 repetitions of this stretch.
Try the self massage release and these stretches.
If you find it’s not really helping, you’re going to have to look for another cause and generally that’s going to be weakness somewhere in the glutes or in the core.
To learn how to do each of these stretches more in depth, check out the video below:
7 Stretches for Lower Back Pain
Latissimus Dorsi Pain Relief – Lats Stretches & Releases
7 Specific Upper Back Stretches For Back Pain Relief
7 Herniated Disc Exercises & Stretches For Lower Back
Rhomboid Muscle Pain Relief Exercises
Dr. Oliver has been practicing in Massachusetts since 2007. He is a graduate of Marist College where he received a Pre-Med Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Dr. Oliver then went on to pursue his chiropractic career by attending Palmer College of Chiropractic West, where he graduated Cum Laude. Dr. Oliver has his diploma in rehabilitation, which allows him to combine rehab and corrective exercise with traditional chiropractic treatment. This gives his patients better long term results.