Clinics in Bedford
Open Mon-Fri 9-5pm

Latissimus Dorsi Pain

The latissimus dorsi is one of the major muscles in your back, and has a big, flat “V” form. It runs the length of your back and aids with shoulder stabilisation, and along with the levator scapulae, trapezius and rhomboid muscles, the latissimus dorsi belongs to the superficial layer of the extrinsic back muscles.

There may be discomfort in your lower back, mid-to-upper back and scapula or the back of your shoulder after you’ve damaged your latissimus dorsi, and that discomfort may extend to your fingers on the inside of your arm.

What Does Latissimus Dorsi Pain Feel Like?

Back and shoulder discomfort might be difficult to tell apart from latissimus dorsi aches and pains. You’ll feel it in your upper or lower arm, shoulder, or back, and when you stretch your arms or reach forward, the pain will worsen. The latissimus dorsi muscle originates from your lumbar fascia, lower thoracic spine, and pelvic bone, which is then attached to the humerus. Since the lat muscle is responsible for extension, adduction, transverse extension also known as horizontal abduction – any abnormality will lead to restricted motion.

If you have difficulty breathing, a fever, or stomach discomfort, see your doctor. When accompanied by latissimus dorsi ache, these might be signs of something more severe.

What causes latissimus dorsi pain?

Pulling and throwing movements engage the latissimus dorsi the most. Overuse, poor technique, or failing to warm up before exercising are the most common causes of pain in the shoulder blade. Latissimus dorsi soreness may be caused by activities such as:

  • Gymnastics
  • Baseball
  • Tennis
  • Rowing
  • Swimming
  • Removing snow off the driveway
  • Slicing through a log
  • Exercises such as chin-ups, as well as pull-ups

If you have bad posture or a tendency to slouch, your latissimus dorsi may hurt.

A rip in the latissimus dorsi is a rare occurrence and in most cases, typically happens to professional athletes like water skiers and golfers and baseball pitchers and rock climbers. Other examples include track and field athletes, volleyball and gymnastics players, and water skiers. But it may also be caused by a major injury, and an overactive and tight latissimus dorsi can lead to an excessive anterior pelvic tilt.

How is this discomfort alleviated?

Rest and physical therapy are the best ways to to treat muscle pain. To keep you comfortable while taking a test, your doctor may prescribe the RICE protocol:

R: Refraining from strenuous physical activity and giving your back and shoulders blade a break

I: Putting an ice pack or a cold compress on the place. 

C: Compression with an elastic bandage. 

E: Sitting up straight or putting cushions behind your upper back and shoulder might help elevate the affected region.

A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (Advil or Motrin) can also be used to alleviate the discomfort. If you’re in excruciating pain, your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication. Cryotherapy and acupuncture are two other options that may be beneficial.

If you feel a sensitive spot, breathe and hold the pressure for around 30-60 seconds until the trigger point releases and resolves muscle strain.

If the discomfort subsides after some rest, you may gradually resume your normal routine. To prevent a recurrence of the damage, proceed cautiously. Your doctor may propose surgery if you continue to have discomfort in the latissimus dorsi area. 

Can latissimus dorsi pain be avoided?

Preventing latissimus dorsi discomfort is possible, particularly if you routinely exercise or participate in sports. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid slouching and maintain a decent posture.
  • Be sure to be well-hydrated all day long, but particularly before and after physical activity.
  • Relax your muscles by getting a massage once in a while to relieve stress in your back and shoulders.
  • Stretch and warm up appropriately before engaging in any kind of physical activity.
  • Use a heating pad before exercising.
  • After a workout, take a few minutes to cool down.

Treatment of Latissimus Dorsi Pain

If you’ve suffered a latissimus dorsi injury, physical therapy may help you regain muscular function. Once the pain and swelling subside, your doctor may recommend beginning physical therapy. You may restore your strength and range of motion after six months.

  • Physical therapy is often utilised to get pain relief, although a standard treatment method for latissimus dorsi injuries does not yet exist. A physical therapist will recommend appropriate exercise for alleviating the back pain.
  • The vast majority of investigations and studies have concluded that avoiding surgery is the best course of action for recreational and professional athletes.
  • Because the shoulder joint compensates for latissimus dorsi injuries, most studies believe that conservative or nonsurgical treatment is appropriate.
  • To alleviate muscular discomfort, a technique is known as “spray and stretch” includes using vapour coolant spray on an inflamed muscle while simultaneously stretching the muscle.

Passive stretching, also known as relaxed stretching or static-passive stretching, is when you keep a muscle in a given posture while moving another portion of your body similarly. 


Parts of the latissimus dorsi have a poor blood supply, which is why they can struggle to heal on their own. It is the oxygen and nutrients in our blood supply that help to heal these structures.

Prolotherapy involves the injection of a regenerative solution into these structures to provide a direct supply of what is required to heal and repair.

As the treatment is helping to treat the root cause of the problem, it is deemed to be a permanent fix.

There is a possibility that the Latissimus dorsi muscle is to blame in individuals who have difficulty performing abduction, flexion, or side rotation movements. It is critical for individuals with upper body disease to have this muscle assessed. The teres major and pectoralis major muscles must work together for the upper limb to move smoothly and fluidly.

To have a strong back, you must have strong latissimus dorsi. Perform exercises such as pull-ups or lat pulldowns. Training your lats has several advantages. It’s not only bodybuilders who should know the advantages of strengthening their back muscles, but it’s also beneficial for regular movement and daily living. 

The chin-up, often known as a chair aided chin for beginners, is a good example of a strength workout.

The latissimus dorsi’s linkages to the spine and pelvis necessitate assessing its length and flexibility in individuals with low back pain. Lower back discomfort might be exacerbated by changes in movement patterns or good posture caused by a shortening or stiffening of this muscle.

Magnesium resonance imaging (MRI) may be utilised to assess the degree of your latissimus dorsum injury before making therapy recommendations (MRI). 

As a result of this test, your physician will be able to evaluate if an injury has occurred and what may be done to restore muscle function.

Preventing Injuries to the Latissimus Dorsi

The following exercises may help keep your muscles from being strained or torn:

  • Strengthening workouts
  • Exercising the muscles

Hillwalking, cycling, weightlifting, and exercising with resistance bands are excellent ways to build muscle. These workouts enhance muscular mass, endurance, and power by forcing your muscles to work more than they normally would.

You may enhance your flexibility and relax tight muscles by doing muscle-stretching exercises like neck stretches and neck rotations. Strengthening exercises can also help prevent future injury.

A good level of physical exercise is essential to a healthy body. Playing sports, exercising, or undertaking physically demanding jobs will be easier on your latissimus dorsi and other muscles.

The Bottom line

Injuries to the latissimus may be excruciating since it is a huge muscle. However, the vast majority of latissimus dorsi discomfort may be alleviated by rest and home exercises alone. 

If your pain persists or is severe, consult your physician for professional medical advice regarding your lower back pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my latissimus dorsi hurt?

Latissimus dorsi activity is required for exercises like throwing and pulling. Pain is typically brought about by using your latissimus dorsi muscle more than its capacity, utilizing the substandard procedure, or working out without warming up the muscle.

 How do you treat a sore latissimus dorsi?

You can treat your sore latissimus dorsi by:

  • Resting your back and shoulder
  • Avoiding physical activities
  • Using ice packs
  • Raising the region

 How long does a latissimus dorsi strain take to heal?

Recovery time goes up and down, relying upon the strain as:

  • Grade 1 strains commonly require 2-3 weeks
  • Grade 2 strains typically require basically a month.
  • Grade 3 strains frequently require a medical procedure and can accompany significantly longer healing periods.

 What does a latissimus dorsi strain feel like?

After a strain in the latissimus dorsi, you might feel torment in a few spots, including the lower, center, upper back, the rear of the shoulders, and the foundation of the scapula. You may also feel pain along the inside of the arm downwards to the fingers.

 What muscle is deep to the latissimus dorsi?

The latissimus dorsi muscle lies superficially, and the serratus posterior muscle lies deep.

 What causes tight latissimus dorsi?

Several conditions may cause tightness in the latissimus muscle. The most common of them is throwing and pulling. Making too much use of this muscle may also cause this condition. People who work out without warming up the muscle may also face the tightness in latissimus dorsi.


  1. Acute Musculotendinous Tears of the Latissimus Dorsi and Teres Major. (2011, November 1). Resource. https://radsource.us/acute-musculotendinous-tears/Çelebi, M. M., Ergen, E., & Üstu?Ner, E. (2013). Acute Traumatic Tear of Iatissimus Dorsi Muscle in an Elite Track Athlete. Clinics and Practice, 3(2), e15. https://doi.org/10.4081/cp.2013.e15
  2. Gerber, C., Maquieira, G., & Espinosa, N. (2006). Latissimus dorsi transfer for the treatment of irreparable rotator cuff tears. JBJS, 88(1), 113–120.
  3. Livesey, J. P., Brownson, P., & Wallace, W. A. (2002). Traumatic latissimus dorsi tendon rupture. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 11(6), 642–644.
  4. Mehdi, S. K., Frangiamore, S. J., & Schickendantz, M. S. (2016). Latissimus Dorsi and Teres Major Injuries in Major League Baseball Pitchers: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Orthopedics (Belle Mead, N.J.), 45(3), 163–167.

Read more: