The anatomy of the back muscles is quite complicated. The back muscles are actually a group of muscles located at the back of the body. These muscles are useful for supporting the movement of the spine, providing stability to the abdomen, waist, and back, and regulating coordination between the body with the legs and arms. The following is a further explanation of the parts of the back muscles and their functions and disorders that may occur.

Back muscle anatomy

The back muscles start from just below the skull, extend over the shoulders and down to the lower back just above the pelvis. These muscles attach to the ribs, spine, shoulder blades and neck.

Back muscles are divided into two major groups, namely extrinsic muscles and intrinsic muscles.

Extrinsic muscles

Extrinsic muscles are part of the back muscles that are located in the outermost layer and their function is related to shoulder movement and breathing. This muscle consists of a superficial layer and an intermediate layer.

Superficial layer

In the anatomy of the back muscles, this layer is located just under the skin and fascia. The superficial layer of the back muscles is further divided into several parts, namely:

  • trapezius. Divided into upper, middle, and lower trapezius. This muscle is flat and triangular in shape. The location is from the cervical spine to the back of the shoulder blades.
  • Rhomboids. It is divided into the major and minor rhomboid muscles. Its function is to move the scapula or shoulder blade.
  • Levator scapulae. This is a muscle that extends from the upper cervical vertebrae to the scapula.
  • Latissimus dorsi. This is a major back muscle from the neck in the thoracolumbar fascia to the shoulder and upper arm bones.

Intermediate layer

The anatomy of the back muscles in the intermediate layer consists of the serratus posterior superior and inferior muscles. These are two paired muscles that run from the spine to the ribs.

Intrinsic Muscle

Part of the back muscles called the intrinsic muscles are located on the inside and their function is related to the movement of the spine. This muscle consists of a superficial layer, an inner layer, and an innermost layer.

Superficial layer

  • The anatomy of the superficial layer of the intrinsic back muscles is divided into:
    splenius muscle. This muscle is further divided into the splenius capitis muscle and the splenius cervicis muscle
  • Erector spinae muscles. This is a large muscle group consisting of three columns of muscles located on either side of the spine, namely the spinalis, longissimus and iliocostalis muscles.

Inner layer

In the inner layer there is the transversospinales muscle which consists of the semispinal muscles, the multifidus muscles, and the rotatores muscles.

The deepest layer

In the deepest layer of the anatomy of the internal back muscles, there are the interspinales and intertransversarii muscles.

Back muscle function

The anatomy of the back muscles consists of several groups that work together. Each muscle group has a different function depending on the type of muscle and the direction in which it is pulled.
Some of the functions of the back muscles include:

  • The trapezius is used to shrug the shoulders. The middle and lower trapezius serve to pull the shoulders back by pulling them back.
  • Rhomboids function to attract and stabilize the shoulder blades.
  • The latissimus dorsi functions to straighten and rotate the bones of the upper arm and help stabilize the lower back when the arm is in a fixed weight bearing position.
  • The erector spinae straighten the spine and bend it backwards. When acting on only one side of the body, this muscle serves to flex the torso laterally.
  • Multifidus serves to stabilize the part of the spine where it attaches.
  • The serratus posterior helps move the ribs during breathing.

Disorders that can be experienced by the back muscles

Back muscles can suffer from injuries or disorders that affect how they work and function. Conditions disorders that can be experienced by the back muscles include:

Back muscle strain

As with muscles in other parts, back muscles can also be stretched or torn. This condition can result from lifting heavy objects or lifting in the wrong way, exercise, or overuse. Back muscle tension can cause cramps or spasms. Severe back muscle injuries can cause paralysis.

Chronic pain

Chronic pain in the back is very common and can even cause stiffness and decreased mobility to make it difficult to move. Back muscle tension and pain can also occur due to depression, stress and anxiety. Meanwhile, pain in the neck and upper back can cause headaches.

Other related conditions

Health problems in the back muscles can also occur due to:

  • Spasms (spasms) of the back muscles
  • Arthritis of the spine
  • Disc herniation or degeneration
  • Spondylolisthesis (spine shifts from where it should be)
  • Pelvic pain
  • Fatigue due to poor posture or too much exercise

There are still several other back muscle problems that can cause pain or spasms. However, most conditions can be treated with rest, light stretching and taking over-the-counter pain medications.

How to keep your back muscles healthy

To keep your back muscles healthy and strong and injury free, there are several things you can do, including:

  • Increase back muscle flexibility. You can do yoga exercises or stretching movements that can help relax tense muscles.
  • Maintain proper posture. When lifting objects, use your legs to support the weight and not your back muscles. Also learn how to properly engage the back muscles in daily activities.
  • Keep a healthy weight. Obesity can increase the risk of strain on the back muscles.
  • Strengthen core muscles. This can help support the spine and reduce the risk of back injury.
  • Warm up before exercising. This is something that should not be ignored to keep the back muscles from getting injured.