Multifidus muscle – the forgotten fighter of lower back pain.

There are over 600 muscles in the body. This is just one of them … Do you ever wonder what muscles you are using when you activate your core? Most people answer “The Abdominals! “You would be right but that’s not the whole story. Some of you will identify with my exercise programs for low back pain and remember to “Tummy Tuck” a simple cue to activate your core muscles (You should be tummy tucking now!)

Click here to see our video, exercise number 9 in the lumbar muscle section on our blog for a reminder.

Whilst you must feel your abdominals tighten you will also co-contract the deep erector spinae muscles – The Multifidus.

The Multifidus muscle group are a series of fleshy muscles which lie deeply, filling up the sides of the spine. They span 3 – 4 vertebrae and run from the base of your spine/sacrum to your neck.

The spinal joints themselves are not as strong as we might think and can collapse under only 20kg of weight.

The Multifidus stabilizes the vertebral joints and that section of the vertebrae preventing compression which can lead to wear and tear on the joint surfaces, disc tears and bulges and internal inflammation and pain.

If the joints over stretch (leading to sprains and strains of the ligament and tendon attachments of the spine), the Multifidus again comes to the rescue.

When you overbalance the Multifidus is one of the first muscles to react to keep you from falling. It comes as no surprise that people with poor balance often have low back injuries and pain.

To find the location of the Multifidus, place a stress/spikey ball on the fleshy side of the spine in the lower back, stress/spikey balls are one of our favourite products to use with tight muscles.

Click here for the Physio Shop.


So, get acquainted with this busy and important muscle.

The Multifidus is easily stretched using a cat/cow, hump/hollow exercise.


One of my favourite exercises for stretching the Multifidus is the bird dog exercise.


A simple balance exercise of standing, juggling and “tummy tucking” will even get the Multifidus firing.

If you require assistance with low back pain or need further information on the best choice and use of the stress/spikey ball and exercises please don’t hesitate to contact us via phone (03) 9670 3996, or email


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