What is the function of the Paraspinal Muscles?

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Spine is one of the most essential parts of our body because it provides support and structure to our body. It is the back support without which standing/sitting would be a hard task or impossible. It allows free movement and flexibility. Spine also acts as the protector of the spinal cord. Spinal cord is a very major organ of the body and is like a column which is made up of nerves. These nerves connect our brain to the whole body so that you can function properly. Hence it is not surprising that in the absence of spinal cord neither our body can move nor our organs can function. The paraspinal muscles are used to stabilize the spine when upright. 


What is spine?

The central nervous system is made of the brain and the Spinal cord. The spine is capable of the involuntary actions in the body. Our spine is composed of 24 bones known as vertebrae. The spinal column is formed by connection of spinal cord ligament and muscles. Our body gives our spinal column form as well as function. The innumerable muscles that are supporting the spine keep the posture of the body upright and also help it to move.


What are the main divisions of spine?

The spinal column comprise of three main sections or divisions:

  • Cervical spine: The first seven vertebrae are the cervical spine
  • Thoracic spine: The portion in the middle of the back is called as thoracic spine and includes 12 vertebrae
  • Lumber spine: Spine’s lower portion is termed as lumber spine and include around 5 vertebrae, however sometimes even the sixth vertebrae also is present in some people

Normally the spine appears like an “S” shaped curve from the side due to which even distribution is possible and also it gets the capacity to combat all the stress. The cervical spine is seen curving inside, the thoracic curve moves outward while the lumber curve comes inside. Although, it’s the lowermost of the spine which holds the weight of the body, every segment is dependent upon the other for proper functioning.


What are the important structures of spine?

The important structures of spine are:

  • Vertebrae
  • Intervertebral disc
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  • Neural foraminae
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  • Nerve roots
  • Paraspinal muscles
  • Spinal segments


What are Paraspinal muscles?

The muscles which are placed immediately beside the spine are the paraspinal muscles. These are known to provide support to the spine and also motor for spine movement. Its joints allow flexibility whereas muscles make mobility possible. Our back consists of innumerable muscles and each of them controls the movements between the skeleton and the vertebrae. These paraspinal muscles can get directly injured due to muscle strain or pulled muscle. The paraspinal muscles also cause trouble sometimes indirectly, mostly when spasms occur due to injury to other areas of spine. A muscle spasm mostly occurs when the paraspinal muscles get tightened and do not relax. Whenever, there is a spine injury in the form of ligament, bone or disc problem, muscles instantly go into spasms and decrease the mobility of that area. This mechanism especially in paraspinal muscles is developed for protecting the injured part. When these muscles are in spasms they produce lactic acid in excess which is a waste product of the chemical reaction going inside the cells of the paraspinal muscles.


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