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How To Relieve Latissimus Dorsi Pain

Latissimus dorsi or mid-back pain is rare. But if you are one of the few who experience this pain and discomfort, we’re here to help you find a solution. This article looks at how to relieve latissimus dorsi pain, what causes it, and alternative treatments. Keep reading to learn more and feel better.

Understanding the Latissimus Dorsi

The latissimus dorsi are big muscles that cover the majority of your back. They’re shaped like a fan and connect to your spine, ribs, pelvis, upper arm, and shoulder. Also known as lats muscles, they pull the body up and forward (WebMB Contributors, 2023).

Though a significant size, the latissimus dorsi is rarely injured. When it does hurt, it’s usually from trauma or working out. Due to their movements, some sports are more likely to cause latissimus dorsi pain than others. These include volleyball, golf, pitching in baseball, gymnastics, rock climbing, and waterskiing.

Other ways you can injure your lats include:

  • Poor posture
  • Frequently shovelling (or activities with similar movements, e.g., chopping wood)
  • Rowing machine practice
  • Exercising without warming up

Latissimus dorsi pain is usually accompanied by shoulder trauma. It’s extremely rare to have isolated lats muscle trauma or pain.

Symptoms of Latissimus Dorsi Problems

Unsure whether you’re experiencing latissimus dorsi pain? These are the common symptoms of latissimus dorsi tears and trauma. All will affect your mid-back area.

Sometimes, you may also experience abdominal pain. But this isn’t always present.

The Traditional Approach: Stretching

Often, the first stop for latissimus dorsi pain relief is through stretching. Stretches and exercises can relieve lats muscle pain and strengthen the muscles to prevent further problems or injuries (Fletcher, 2018).

Traditional stretching methods for lats muscles include “Superman” back bows and pelvic raises. Both workouts involve gently stretching the muscles and repeating the motion for a gradual increase in strength.

Before stretching your latissimus dorsi muscles, ensure you have proper form. Stretching an irritated muscle can cause more pain and complications without professional guidance. Consider alternative treatments or consult a physiotherapist if unsure about the correct positioning and form.

Latissimus Dorsi Pain Alternative Treatments

Stretches aren’t the only way to tackle latissimus dorsi pain. You can use a handful of alternative treatments to lessen pain and heal your muscles from home. The main aim of most of these is to reduce the inflammation of the area and promote healing.

Here’s an overview of the best alternative latissimus dorsi pain treatments:

1. Rest

Rest will be at the top of any pain-relief list. Not only does rest help reduce stress, boost creativity, improve productivity, and enhance decision-making, but it also speeds up healing (Cherry, 2021).

Taking a break and prioritising rest can help your body heal and recover, as it’s not focusing on other external factors.

2. Sleeping Positions

Did you know latissimus dorsi pain and your sleeping position are connected? Pain in the middle of your back and your lats muscles can be caused by poor sleeping posture. This means your body is twisted or experiencing extra strain overnight.

Luckily, adopting a proper sleeping position or using sleep aids can help you relieve stress on your muscles and achieve a more comfortable night of sleep. Memory foam pillows, like the Groove Pillow or Groove Body Pillow, are popular sleep aids, as they redistribute pressure and support healthy sleeping positions.

3. Hot & Cold Therapy

Applying warm or cold compresses as part of hot and cold therapy can improve comfort and increase healing.

Heat therapy (e.g., a hot water bottle) can improve blood flow to the muscle and reduce pain and stiffness. Cold therapy (e.g., an ice pack) reduces inflammation and numbs pain (Gotter, 2014).

These methods are great for managing flare-ups or minimising pain before bed.

4. Strengthening The Muscles

Strengthening exercises can help to support the latissimus dorsi and the surrounding muscles. This can reduce pain and prevent future problems.

As in the section above, it’s recommended that you run through stretches and strength exercises with a professional. Otherwise, you may risk additional pain.

5. Massage

Studies have found that massage therapy is an efficient pain management option, as massages improve muscle blood flow (Crawford, 2016). To massage your back at home, invest in a foam roller or use your fingers to massage along the muscles’ length.

6. Good Posture

Bad posture and slouching can strain the latissimus dorsi and surrounding mid-back muscles. Maintaining good posture and investing in ergonomic office furniture can lessen these issues.

7. Epsom Salt Bath

Finally, a relaxing Epsom salt bath can reduce latissimus dorsi pain. Epsom salts provide muscle pain relief alongside a host of other benefits (such as sunburn relief and reduction of skin inflammation).

Latissimus Dorsi Pain Relief - Final Words

Finding relief from latissimus dorsi pain is important, as the pain and tightness can leave you with no sleep and a limited range of movement. Hopefully, this guide has inspired you to treat your lats muscles and prevent further injuries or tightness.

Always remember, if your pain lasts more than two weeks or becomes very intense, contact your medical care provider.

Relieve latissimus dorsi pain with a memory foam pillow now. Explore the Groove Pillow range online here. Or understand more about back pain via our blog.


  • Cherry, H. (2021). The Benefits Of Resting And How To Unplug In A Busy World. [online] Forbes. Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2024].
  • Crawford, C., Boyd, C., Paat, C.F., Price, A., Xenakis, L., Yang, E. and Zhang, W. (2016). The Impact of Massage Therapy on Function in Pain Populations—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials: Part I, Patients Experiencing Pain in the General Population. Pain Medicine, [online] 17(7), pp.1353–1375. doi:
  • Fletcher, J. (2018). Latissimus dorsi pain: Symptoms, causes, and exercises for relief. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2024].
  • ‌Gotter, A. (2014). Treating Pain with Heat and Cold. [online] Healthline. Available at:

WebMD Editorial Contributors, W.E. (2023). What to Know About Latissimus Dorsi Pain. [online] WebMD. Available at: