The Erector Spinae muscles are a group of three paired muscles that run vertical to your spine they extend the vertebrate column and assist the core to maintain proper posture. The three muscles of the Erector Spinae are the Iliocostalis, Longissimus and Spinalis, the paired groups run along the spine originating at the Sacrum and Iliac Crest and insert in various locations through the Cervical and Thoracic vertebrae and ribs. These muscles are not one long muscle , they are a bundle of muscles, and work together with movement and stabilization. The Erector Spinae actions consist of Flexion, Extension, Lateral Flexion and Rotation. When the muscles contract simultaneously you extend the spine growing a little taller, creating space in the vertebrae.
Much of the lower back pain society experiences is due to the hours we spend sitting at a desk with bad posture, weakening the muscles, leaving them in a state of extension and constriction, hence they end up confused as to their purpose, causing muscle imbalance losing site of their actual task at hand. In addition pain can be caused from damage due to improper use like lifting using your back in flexion vs. squatting into it causing strain. Keeping this muscle group strong is valuable to a pain free life and Pilates has been my key. The best thing that you can do for your spine is move it through all its ranges of movement every day, being someone who has suffered from back pain, I incorporate this teaching into all my sessions. As a side note to prevent any additional pain or injury I have found if someone is experiencing low back pain it may be beneficial for the individual to work in a neutral spine or with a pad under their sacrum, until the strain in this area has subsided and core strength is established.