Back Pain Part II – Where are the Erector Muscles? How They Affect Your Back & Cause Pain

August 14, 2014

FX Photo Studio_imageDoes your back feel tired? Does it hurt to shrug your shoulders? Do you feel pain or tightness in the back when you bring your chin to your chest? Is your back movement limited? Is your back so tight you could bounce objects off of it?!

Blame all these on the Erector Spinae Muscles!

Erector Spinae Muscles are long and run along the back from the tailbone aka sacrum area to the base of the head. They run on opposite sides and against the spine and align next to each other. As  you can see by all these photos they are like puppet strings. When a person’s erector muscle is tight for a long time it no longer is flat. The muscle takes on a rope like quality. The fibers are over stretched and gnarl up and no longer move. When in a chronic stage of contracture (a deformation of the muscle that is no longer elastic or stretchy causing stiffness) you will feel immense pulling, aching and tightness in other areas. The neck, shoulders, back and hamstrings (legs) start to feel the inability of the erector to move and stretch with movement.  If there is no give and other muscles have to take over, then the spine will also be affected.

drawing erector Needless to say, these Erector Muscles hold us erect and keep our movement flowing. The more you learn to treat these muscles with massage, exercise and stretching the better you will feel overall. You can use your imagination and find many great ways to loosen them up. If you already have a way and would like to share please make sure to let us know below. And if in fact you already treat your back in any of the ways we are going to show you here let us know, too! photo 2-1 The first thing we would like you to do is to locate the Erector Spinae Muscles on your back. Check to see if they feel flat or rope-like. When you press on them do they hurt? Can you get at them and pull them away from the rest of your back muscles?  Are they stuck to other muscles? Are they are difficult to feel? Do you feel somewhat numb in an area of your Erector? If you answered yes to any of the above you MUST read on and learn to open up and bring life back into these very important muscles.


First thing I want to say about self-massaging your erector muscles is that you really need to know your body well to use your hands to find the tight areas. This is because it’s not easy to reach and depending how tight your shoulder and arms are it might be impossible. So, we need to get you started using great tools to release them and then in another blog we will go into depth on positioning yourself and using your hands to massage these important muscles.

There are three great tools for opening and releasing the Erector Spinae. First is the TP Therapy Ball. Use these balls in a seated position for middle and upper back tightness and the Da Vinci Tool and The Grid Foam Roller in lying position.



IMG_9162Use this ball up near your spine on the Erector Spinae on each side. You can use one ball and take turns working each side or get two and use simultaneously. Below is a video of how to use the balls in a seated position for the upper and middle back.

The key here is to use the balls to find the tight areas. Once you master the tools you can learn how to massage and feel for small knots and work with the fibers to unravel deeper ones. Your fingertips are very sensitive and if you train them they will certainly find the areas needing attention and heal your discomfort.

Da Vinci Tool


The Da Vinci tool above, is a triangular tool that is much firmer and narrower than the TP Therapy Ball. So the chosen edge of the tool (it has three different ones) will help you decide what feels best to rest on the erectors to release them. We find the red colored Da Vinci tool firm enough. However, if you need extra firm get the blue one. Move these up and down the back to get a better release. If you need more information on using the tool please contact us.


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For fast easy rolling on the floor release, the Grid Foam Roller is for you. If you want to see a video on how to use the foam roller on the erectors and are a SUBSCRIBER head over to our MY SELF CARE TOOLKIT page. If you haven’t yet SUBSCRIBED then please do above or below this page so you can receive our blogs on SELF-MASSAGE with EXCLUSIVE free Videos, Tips and Giveaways!

Again, Thank you so much for reading our blog and visiting

We are here to help and we love what we do. So send us your feedback. If you want to tell us about a product or have an issue you need to treat,  let us know!

We hope you are having a great summer!

Wishing you a pain-free day,

Elizabeth & Carly

The Massage Gurus!

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