What Are The Muscles That Support Your Spine?

Although most conditions we handle have to do with the bones that build the spine, the supporting muscles are just as important. Without muscles, our spine would not be able to make its rotating, bending, and twisting motions. Around 140 muscles overlap to maintain your back. Medical and health experts categorize them into several groups: the flexors, the corset, and the abdominals.

The Flexors

On both sides of your body lay the iliopsoas muscles, commonly known as flexors. These muscles are what help you with walking, running, and climbing motions. If you’re not moving, the flexors let you bend forward and keep your spine stabilized when sitting upright. These muscles are some of the largest in your body, starting from the lumbar vertebrae (your lower back area) and reaching down to the top of your thighs. Long sessions of inactivity may strain this group, which is why you might feel pain when standing up.

The Corset

You most likely have heard this group referred to as “The Core.” Athletes and fitness coaches usually talk about the core as an important part of your body to strengthen (and for a good reason.) The deepest type of abdominal muscles, the corset gets its name from the way it wraps around your body. Your corset allows you to twist and, when it’s weak, your spine loses its foundational support.

Your Abdominals

Your abs, also known as rectus abdominis, pull your skeletal structure forward. Although many initially think the most important part of these muscles is the washboard-like surface, the deeper, hidden tissues handle the majority of the work. Weak abdominal muscles mean more work for the corest and flexors when supporting the spine, which puts your whole body under more strain.

Layered muscles also support the spine from within. Tiny tissues attach your vertebra together and allow you to stretch backward, side bend, and twist. When you feel spasms in your back, they often come from these smaller workers. Although these are the most general descriptions of the muscles that support your spine, the body is such a huge and complex network, that a fully detailed breakdown would require more than one post. If you’re trying to figure out why you’re experiencing back pain and believe it has something to do with your spine or the muscles supporting it, contact us at the Spine Institute for an appointment and consultation.