T Nation

Upper Erector Spinae Hypertonic?

Hey guys,

Numerous massage therapists - some of them quite good - have commented that my erector spinae (in the area where my lumbar/thoracic spine meet) are “hypertonic,” which I understand to mean they are over-active.

Sometimes I do feel a little unstable there. And over the years, I’ve experienced a sudden twinge in that general area when doing something really grueling like, say, bending down to tie my shoelaces :slight_smile:

I also found that it frequently followed from tight hammies/psoas.

Anyone else have this issue? Any suggestions? Insight? Thanks!

I think you answered that question yourself. Tight hamstrings and hip flexors. Generally in the population, you will find that people have tight quads and hip flexors that overpower the weak and lengthened hamstrings and hip extensors. Once you have an imbalance, it will cause a tilt to your pelvis, which in turn places more stress to surrounding body parts.

Suggestion in simplest terms just from the information given: stretch and strengthen the appropriate musculature.

-LH

Thanks!

Yes, but it seems like their chronically tight, however much I stretch the flexors/hams - so the question is, why?

I have some anterior pelvic tilt - which I’m working on. On the other hand, I also have developed good strength in my glutes/posterior chain & abs+tva. Maybe I just need to keep working on this?

Also: these therapists have often mentioned that this part of my erector spinae seems hypertrophied as well - indeed, when I look in the mirror sideways, they are quite pronounced. Then again, I’ve noticed a lot of lifters seem to have this too. Then again, maybe they’re suffering the same imbalance as me.

Anyway, thanks for responding! Cheers!

I get a slight amount of anterior pelvic tilt.

I’ve got a well developed lower back from heavy posterior chain work for years. When the pos chain muscles aren’t stretched out and my quads are tight I get the tilt sometimes.

My low back likes to hold tension like a snare drum so I have to work on it often.

[quote]katzenjammer wrote:
Hey guys,

Numerous massage therapists - some of them quite good - have commented that my erector spinae (in the area where my lumbar/thoracic spine meet) are “hypertonic,” which I understand to mean they are over-active.

Sometimes I do feel a little unstable there. And over the years, I’ve experienced a sudden twinge in that general area when doing something really grueling like, say, bending down to tie my shoelaces :slight_smile:

I also found that it frequently followed from tight hammies/psoas.

Anyone else have this issue? Any suggestions? Insight? Thanks!

[/quote]

As a writer you may be hunching a bit for long periods of time - especially if you’re a good typist and keep your hands suspended over the keyboard. That position puts the stress right at the point you mention. You might want to check your posture while you work and periodically stand up and work out the kinks…

[quote]
As a writer you may be hunching a bit for long periods of time - especially if you’re a good typist and keep your hands suspended over the keyboard. That position puts the stress right at the point you mention. You might want to check your posture while you work and periodically stand up and work out the kinks…[/quote]

THanks, yeah. I’m wising up to this as well - I now have two computers, one for stand up and one for sit down. I actually now have a “dentist-like” chair from backsaver, but it’s a pain in the *ss to work in.