Back Muscles Anatomy [PDF]

The muscles of the back can be divided into 3 groups :

  • Superficial – associated with movements of the shoulder.
  • Intermediate – associated with movements of the thoracic cage.
  • Deep – associated with movements of the vertebral column.

The deep muscles develop embryologically in the back & are thus described as intrinsic muscles. The superficial and intermediate muscles don’t develop in the back & are classified as extrinsic muscles.

The superficial muscles in the back are situated underneath the skin and superficial fascia. They originate from the vertebral column & attach to the bones of the shoulder – the clavicle, scapula & humerus. All these muscles are therefore associated with movements of the upper limb.

The muscles in this group are the trapezius, latissimus dorsi, levator scapulae &  the rhomboids. The trapezius & the latissimus dorsi lie the most superficially, with the trapezius covering the rhomboids and levator scapulae.

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