Muscles of the Back Erector Spinae

From the perspective of functional anatomy, the muscles of the back can be classified into three groups:

1. Long back muscles that pass at least seven vertebrae (Table 12-5 and Fig. 12-18)

2. Back muscles of average length that pass two to six vertebrae (Table 12-6; see Fig. 12-18)

3. Short back muscles that pass only over the nearest vertebra (Table 12-7 and Fig. 12-19)

The muscles work together as a unit (Table 12-8). The most important muscles for turning the trunk are the rotators. A combination of bending and turning is important for all types of throwing.

It is believed that the most common cause of backache is cramp of the short muscles, particularly the rotators. If cramp occurs in one muscle, the muscles surrounding it contract to prevent movements that could tear it. This, in turn, cuts off the blood supply to the area, causing cramp in other muscles. Cramp may result from overexertion, unaccustomed movements, or minor vertebral displacements caused by sudden stress.

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