Multifidi and Rotatores
Multifidi and rotatores form a thick band of muscles that fill the lamina groove. They connect the proximal transverse process of a vertebra to the spinous process of the vertebrae above it.
The shortest strand is the deepest. As the strands lengthen to span more vertebrae, they become more superficial. This forms a thick web of guy wires that allow vertebrae to move in relationship to each other.
Rotatores are the deepest muscles in the lamina groove. Rotatores connect the transverse process of a vertebra to the spinous processes of the spinous process of the two vertebrae just above it.
Multifidi lay just on top of the rotatores. Multifidi connect from the transverse process of a vertebra to the spinous processes of the vertebrae 3-5 segments higher. This configuration traps vertebrae between the attachments.
In combination with the rotatores, they are seen as stabilizing a vertebra with the 5 or 6 vertebrae above it.
Rotatores lay under the multifidi, and semispinalis muscles lay above the multifidi, but the bulk of muscle in the lamina groove is made of the multifidi.
The posterior rami of spinal nerves innervate these small muscles.
Attachments by spinal section
Multifidi attachments vary slightly in different sections of the spine.
Origin – articular process (of the lower four vertebrae)
Insertion – transverse process of the vertebrae 2-4 segments above, up to the axis
There are exceptions to the typical multifidi structure, and cervical multifidi are included. They originate on C5-C7 and insert on C2-C5, leaving some single strands that only skip over one vertebra.
Origin – transverse process
Insertion – the spinous process of the vertebrae 3-5 vertebrae above the origin
Origin – mamillary process
Insertion – spinous process of the vertebrae 3-5 segments above the origin
The lumbar multifidi form a thick pillar of muscle in the low back. They continue onto the sacrum below.
Studies report that the lumbosacral multifidi, especially below L3, atrophy much faster than most muscles with age, starting in the late 30s.
Support Integrative Works
to stay independent and
produce great content.
You can subscribe to our community on Patreon. You will get links to free content and access to exclusive content not seen on this site. We will be posting anatomy illustrations, treatment notes, and sections from our manuals not found on this site. Thank you for your support.
Weekly Featured Post
This patient had recovered from a frozen shoulder but developed shoulder pain at the end of his golf swing. More traditional neuromuscular techniques weren’t working. The chiropractic wasn’t working. Integrative Craniosacral was the right solution for lasting relief.
Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients. He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points, and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.
*This site is undergoing major changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and will include more patterns with better self-care. In the meanwhile, there may be inconsistency in formatting, content presentation, and readability. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.