The top 5 potential causes of latissimus dorsi muscle pain

by | Jun 13, 2024 | Back Pain

Pain in any area of the body can be frustrating, especially if it starts to interfere with your ability to carry out everyday tasks, such as cleaning your home or going to the gym. While there are more than 600 muscles in the human body, one of the largest is located in your back. When it’s causing you pain, it can impact your overall quality of life.

The latissimus dorsi muscle is commonly referred to as the “lats.” It takes up the most surface area in the human body. It makes up most of the lower posterior thorax, stretching from the middle to the lower back. Its main function is to move the upper extremity. That means that it’s nearly impossible to avoid moving it even when you’re experiencing pain from it. 

It’s important to determine the possible causes of latissimus dorsi muscle pain so that you can alleviate it with the safest and most effective treatment options. We’ll discuss five common reasons for muscle pain in your lats. We’ll also talk about how Forever Fit can help reduce it with a personalized treatment plan.

5 possible explanations for latissimus dorsi muscle pain

There are many potential conditions and injuries that may be behind latissimus dorsi muscle pain. If the pain is persistent or worsening, it’s important to talk to your doctor, especially if you’re experiencing other symptoms stemming from the same area. Some of the potential causes may also result in swelling and discoloration. Your doctor will evaluate your pain and run necessary tests for a formal diagnosis. 

Here are five potential causes of latissimus dorsi muscle pain:

  • Strain — It’s possible to strain the latissimus dorsi muscle or the tendons that connect it to your bones. A strain means that the muscle or tendon has become overstretched or torn. Latissimus dorsi muscle strains are especially common in athletes or people who have an active lifestyle. You may strain your lats if you overuse the muscle while exercising or don’t properly stretch your upper extremity before activities.
  • Rib sprain — A sprain means that the ligaments that connect your bones and joints have been stretched or torn, damaging the joint and causing inflammation and pain that may be felt in the latissimus dorsi muscle. A rib sprain can occur due to repetitive or excessive twisting, lifting or bending movements. 
  • Osteoarthritis — If you have arthritis in your thoracic spine (middle or upper back), the pain may be felt in your latissimus dorsi muscle. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of spinal arthritis. IT causes the cartilage of your joints to break down gradually over time through wear and tear. The pain often flares up during bending or twisting back movements, which could radiate to your latissimus dorsi muscle.
  • Myofascial pain syndrome — Your muscles are held in place by a thin tissue called fascia. When you develop pain that affects both your muscles and fascia, it’s possible to be diagnosed with myofascial pain syndrome. Pain from this chronic condition can be felt in the latissimus dorsi muscle when there are repetitive “micro traumas” affecting the area, such as vigorous exercise or poor technique while playing sports.
  • Poor posture — It’s possible to have latissimus dorsi muscle pain that’s either the cause or result of poor posture. If a person has consistently slouched for a long time, it can cause pain in the lats from the excessive stress placed on the area. But it’s also possible to have a muscle imbalance in the shoulders and upper back that’s caused by a weak or tight latissimus dorsi muscle, leading to poor posture, such as rounded shoulders.

Forever Fit can help you address and treat latissimus dorsi muscle pain

If you’re experiencing pain in your latissimus dorsi muscle, it can make you wince with every back movement. By getting to the bottom of your back pain, you can move along the recovery process and return to your regular activities. At Forever Fit, we can help you determine the likely cause of your pain and create a personalized treatment plan to alleviate it. 

We’ll carry out a comprehensive exam by evaluating the area and discussing your symptoms and how they’re affecting your overall quality of life. We can help pinpoint the likely cause behind your lats pain and determine the safest way to treat it. A personalized treatment plan for common causes of back pain may include therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, trigger point dry needling and the Graston Technique®.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

Schedule an Appointment