The latissimus dorsi or lats are the large flat muscles on each side covering the width of the middle and lower back. They connect the bone of the upper arm to the spine and the hip. When pain presents in these muscles, it is typically caused by:
Chiropractic treatment and exercises can help prevent and relieve this pain.
The objective is to diagnose whether the pain is located in the latissimus dorsi or other muscles in the shoulders or back. If the latissimus dorsi is injured, an individual might feel pain in several areas; these include:
In certain cases, the pain will present without warning and can be felt in the surrounding muscles. This type of pain often gets worse when the individual:
Tissue damage or injury can cause other symptoms to present. These include:
If the source of the back pain cannot be identified, or if it is accompanied by:
The lat muscles are used in everyday activities. These include:
For sports or working out, the lats are used in:
Individuals that are at risk of developing this injury include those that:
Tearing the latissimus dorsi is possible, especially for athletes. Some athletes with increased risk include:
Certain exercises can alleviate the aches and pain and strengthen the lat muscles to prevent and/or worsen the injury. It is recommended to consult a doctor, sports chiropractor, or personal trainer before beginning a therapeutic exercise regimen. This is to ensure that the exercises are right for the individual and their condition and that they use the correct form. Here are two exercises that can help reduce the pain. The doctor, chiropractor, or trainer will recommend the frequency the individual should perform the exercises.
This pose is known as the superman pose. To perform:
To perform this exercise:
Individuals can prevent lat pain with lifestyle adjustments. These include:
Two important steps to achieve optimal health include:
A proper protein intake is important for muscle adaptability or how muscles adapt to stress during exercise and/or strength training. This is also important to stimulate muscle protein synthesis after exercising and/or strength training. To ensure the body gets the strength and hypertrophy improvement from exercise and strength training, eating around 25g of high-quality protein after workout sessions are recommended.
Maximize recovery time between workout sessions for those doing aerobic and strength training. This is because strength and aerobic fitness health gains are low when the two only have a separation of 6 hours or less. Twenty-four hours between sessions is recommended, especially if the priority is endurance performance.
Anderson, S. E., Hertel, R., Johnston, J. O., Stauffer, E., Leinweber, E., & Steinbach, L. S. (2005, November). Latissimus dorsi tendinosis and tear: imaging features of a pseudotumor of the upper limb in five patients. American Journal of Roentgenology, 185(5), 1145–1151
Donohue, Benjamin F et al. “Sports Injuries to the Latissimus Dorsi and Teres Major.” The American journal of sports medicine vol. 45,10 (2017): 2428-2435. doi:10.1177/0363546516676062http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0363546516676062?journalCode=ajsb
Henseler, J. F., Nagels, J., Nelissen, R. G. H. H., & de Groot, J. H. (2014, April). Does the latissimus dorsi tendon transfer for massive rotator cuff tears remain active postoperatively and restore active external rotation? Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 23(4), 553–560
George, Michael S, and Michael Khazzam. “Latissimus Dorsi Tendon Rupture.” The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons vol. 27,4 (2019): 113-118. doi:10.5435/JAAOS-D-17-00581
Lehman, Gregory J et al. “Variations in muscle activation levels during traditional latissimus dorsi weight training exercises: An experimental study.” Dynamic medicine: DM vol. 3,1 4. 30 Jun. 2004, doi:10.1186/1476-5918-3-4
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The information herein on "Straining, Spasming, Injuring The Lat Muscles" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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