Paraspinal muscles

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 10 Jul 2021

The paraspinal muscles (PSM) , also known as paravertebral muscles, is a descriptive term given to those muscles that closely surround the spine, primarily the thoracolumbar spine. There has been great research interest in using the cross-sectional area of these muscles as a measure of overall muscle bulk (see sarcopenia) and also as part of assessing cases of low/lumbar back pain 1-3.

It is usually stated to include:

However many other back muscles are not usually included in the paraspinal muscle group because they are:

  1. not truly paraspinal
  2. small muscles poorly seen on axial spinal imaging of the spine
  3. cervical spine muscles

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