What's the Longissimus Dorsi?

This blog is all about the Longissimus Dorsi. The longissimus dorsi is one of the major back muscles present in both the dog and the horse. It functions to allow extension and lateral flexion of the spine in both the dog and the horse.

Below you can see the exact origins and insertions for the canine and equine longissimus dorsi.


Origin: Spinous processes of the sacral, lumbar and thoracic vertebra and transverse processes of thoracic and articular processes of cervical vertebrae

Insertion: transverse and accessory processes of lumbar and thoracic vertebrae, ribs transverse processes of cervical vertebrae and the mastoid process of the temporal bone.

Action: fixation and extension of the vertebral column, the elevation of head and neck, lateral flexion of the trunk and neck when only one side is acting.

Innervation: dorsal branches of lumbar, thoracic and cervical spinal nerves.


Origin: Ilium, spinous processes of sacrum, lumbar and thoracic vertebrae and transverse processes of thoracic and cervical vertebrae.

Insertion: Transverse processes of vertebrae, tubercles of ribs, the wing of atlas and mastoid process.

Action: Stabilises and extends back and lateral flexion.

Innervation: Dorsal branch of local spinal nerves.

Muscle spasms in the back are often a result of tension within the longissimus dorsi this can be due to a number of reasons such as poor posture, over-exertion, spinal pathology or injury. Once the underlying cause has been diagnosed by your vet, we can help address not only the muscle spasms but also the underlying cause by aiding in the recovery of the injury and using remedial exercises to increase core strength and proprioception to alter posture, preventing the formation of further muscle spasms within the longissiumus dorsi. The existing muscle spasms can be treated using a combination of heat, PEMF, massage and TENs.

Think your pets struggling book a session now!

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