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Multifidus Muscle: An Important Spinal Stabilizer

| | Back (Spine)

At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic, we utilize the SANS approach in our evaluation and treatment of patients. This has been discussed in prior blogs.

S stands for stability. Stability is dependent upon muscle strength and ligament stability.

A Critical Spine Stabilizer

An important stabilizer of the spine is the multifidus muscle. It is a small but critical muscle that extends the entire length of the spinal column.

The multifidus muscle lies deep to the erector spinae muscles, where it fills the groove between the transverse and spinous processes of the vertebrae.


The multifidus muscle is a key stabilizer of the spine. It produces extension of the vertebral column and rotation of the vertebral bodies away from the side of the contraction and is active in lateral flexion of the spine. It stabilizes the low back and pelvis before movement of the arms and legs.

Can the Multifidus Muscle Be Visualized on MRI?

Yes. It is best visualized on axial view (cross section).

multifidus in sections

M:  multifidus

IL:  iliocostalis

LO:  longissimus

Can the Multifidus Muscle Be Visualized on Ultrasound?

Yes. It is best visualized on cross section as shown below. The dark fingerlike object in the center of the image on the left is the spinous process. The multifidus lies adjacent to the spinous process and is outlined by the white circles in the image on the right.

multifidus muscle in mri

To learn more about the importance of this muscle, please watch the video below.


If you suffer from spinal pain and your current provider has not discussed or reviewed the integrity of your multifidus muscle on MRI or ultrasound or has recommended spinal fusion, you most likely are not getting the best clinical outcome. Stop the piecemeal approach so prevalent in Denver and have a thorough evaluation at the Centeno-Schultz Clinic where a board-certified physician who is fellowship trained can provide you the best comprehensive treatment options.

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