The Top 5 Techniques For Back Extensor Release

The back extensor muscle group contains the Longissimus, Iliocostalis, and Spinalis.

If during an assessment excessive anterior pelvic tilt, excessive lumbar spine lordosis, back or sacroiliac joint pain is found, these muscles should be addressed.

How to know if you need to address the Back Extensors:

  • Lower, middle or upper back pain
  • Sacroiliac joint pain
  • Excess anterior pelvic tilt

Back Extensors - Massage Therapy

The back extensor muscles are easily accessed because they are superficial muscles.  They run from the sacrum all the way up to the back of the skull.

Due to the length of the muscles, its easiest to treat them in smaller chunks.  Elbow glides are most commonly used by massage therapists, but after the warm up, thumb-based techniques can address these muscles with more precision.

Back Extensors Release - Knees to Chest Stretch

Since most people do not feel a stretch in thoracic region of the extensors (due to excess rounding of the back called kyphosis), we focus on lengthening the erectors of the lumbar spine.

The knees to chest stretch is a simple way to accomplish this goal, but don't worry if you do not feel a stretch.  Not everyone does!

Back Extensor Release - Cat Stretch

The Cat stretch works very well for lengthening the spinal extensors, but the emphasis needs to be on pelvic tilting to affect the lower aspect of the muscles.

Its important to note that the lumbar spine doesn't flex very far, so only a little pelvic tilting is necessary.  Its not uncommon for some people to feel slight discomfort at the L-5/S-1 level, so only go as far as comfortable.

Back Extensor Release - Post Isometric Relaxation

Post-isometric relaxation works very well for the back extensor muscles.

Correct positioning over the end of the table is essential during this one, and if any discomfort is felt in the lower lumbar spine, reduce intensity and/or consult with your physician for guidance.

Be sure to contract at a low intensity for 8-10 seconds prior to relaxing fully into the new stretch position for another 8-10 seconds.

Back Extensor Release - Side Bend Stretch Over Ball

The side bend stretch over a swiss ball, when correctly positioned, is a great way to lengthen the spinal extensors.

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