Looking after your latissimus dorsi

The latissimus dorsi, or lats for short, is a muscle in the middle and lower portion of your back. It plays an important role in your body, so how can you look after it?

The Latissimus Dorsi

The above image illustrates the Latissimus Dorsi

You use your lats muscle for all kinds of tasks, from chest expansion when breathing, to pushing yourself out of a comfy chair. Athletes rely on these muscles for a range of arm-related sports, and training that includes bench presses. If you play golf, baseball, tennis, have poor posture, or even just do an activity such as chopping wood, you may use this muscle more than most.

With so much use, it’s not uncommon to feel pain in the area surrounding your lats. Normally, any pain and discomfort relates to sports, overuse, or poor technique. A tell-tale sign of an injury to the lats can be distinct pain in your back, shoulders, shoulder blades, lower arms, and the inside of your arms down to your fingers. Severe damage can also include arm tingling, breathing troubles, and back tendonitis.

A wide range of people can find themselves with lats muscle pain; fortunately, there are ways to prevent or ease it, and strengthen the muscle to reduce the risk. A personal trainer or expert can ensure you are using the correct form while offering helpful advice for the future.

Exercises that experts might suggest include the back bow and pelvic lift. The back bow requires you to lie facedown and form a pose similar to Superman flying, while the pelvic lift involves lying on your back and lifting your pelvis upward. You can also prevent pain by using proper form, not overusing the muscles, warming up and cooling down, staying hydrated and getting massages.

Damaging your latissimus dorsi muscle is uncomfortable, but it’s entirely preventable and manageable with a bit of help from an expert. Consult your chiropractor for advice or information on the correct exercises to manage and treat the discomfort.