ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Deeper Look Into Spine Muscle Imbalances

Updated on January 14, 2020
BingXi profile image

Bing Xi is a Rehab Essentials certified personal trainer who helped clients overcome muscle imbalances.

What is a Spine Muscle Imbalance?

Muscle imbalance is a deviation of the actual relative activity levels from the optimal relative activity levels of the involved muscles, causing compensations, inhibition of muscles and inefficiency in movements. At the spine, this imbalance can be at the low back or neck. Depending on the severity, a spine muscle imbalance can spread and cause more imbalances, increase injury risks, cause poor posture and contribute to chronic pain, especially to the whole body. It is common for everyone to have some form of spine imbalances, which tend to be more infectious to other parts due to the connectivity of the spine.

To illustrate a muscle imbalance simplistically, imagine a rod being pivoted on one end with two strings attached to the rod on the other end. The strings' tension are pulling the rod to pivot in opposite directions. Both strings need to have certain tension in them to stabilize the rod either when stationary or when pivoting in either direction, in different positions and speeds, depending on the rod's weight, center of gravity, position and properties of the pivot. If either string does not have the ability to withstand certain amount of tension, the rod would be unstable under certain circumstances. That would lead to jerky and inefficient movements of the rod as well as wear and tear on the the rod, pivot and the strings.

The rod in the previous paragraph can be someone's lower limb while the two strings can be two different muscles attached to the limb that facilitate movements of the limb. A muscle imbalance would lead to inefficient movements of the lower limb, instability of the joints and greater risks of injury. To minimize these, it is important to strengthen both muscles to enable them to take more tension and also to be optimally activated relatively to one another in order not for one to be overly tensed up compared to the other.

Pivoting wooden rod


Concerns of a big Spine Muscle Imbalance

On top of the compensations that can spread to other body parts, leading to more imbalances, potentially causing a vicious cycle of injuries and chronic pain like for all muscle imbalances, spine ones tend to be more detrimental to neural health due to the spine's proximity to the central nervous system.

Common Spine Muscle Imbalances

In general, the common muscle imbalances involve over-active "pro-gravity" muscles and under-active "anti-gravity" muscles. Some of these "pro-gravity" and "anti-gravity" muscles are commonly targeted muscles in physiotherapy and rehabilitation in both recuperation and prevention from injuries.

To illustrate "pro-gravity" and "anti-gravity", imagine someone standing tall, weight evenly distributed on both feet, arms hanging loose by the side, head, chest and hips facing the front squarely. If this guy were to lose consciousness without any warning, he would collapse with certain movement patterns. These patterns are the common muscle imbalances with involved shortened muscles being "pro-gravity" while the lengthened muscles being "anti-gravity". Since tensing a muscle usually involves shortening it while relaxing a muscle usually involve lengthening it, "pro-gravity" muscles are usually over-activated while "anti-gravity" muscles are usually under-activated. These terms "pro-gravity" and "anti-gravity" are used because muscles that contributes to the movement patterns in favor of gravity are considered "pro-gravity" while those that oppose these movement patterns are considered "anti-gravity".

Some common terms in spine imbalances include kyphosis and lordosis.

Common Spine Imbalances


List of common Spine Muscle Imbalances

From my learnings in school, Rehab Essentials and as a fitness instructor, I have come across a number of muscle imbalances spanning across the whole body from top to toes, including the spine, at the low back and neck.

At the low back, the imbalances can occur in the manners of anterior pelvic tilt and posterior pelvic tilt.

In the manner of anterior pelvic tilt, a muscle imbalance revolves around TFL, rectus femoris, iliacus, quadratus lumborum, latissimus dorsi and abdominals

In the manner of posterior pelvic tilt, a muscle imbalance revolves around gluteals, hamstrings, adductor magnus, piriformis, superficial abdominals, psoas, erector spinae and multifidus.

At the neck, the imbalances can occur in the manners of forward chin and head tilt/turn.

In the manner of forward chin, a muscle imbalance revolves around sternocleidomastoid, levator scap and upper trapezius.

In the manner of head tilt/turn, a muscle imbalance also revolves around sternocleidomastoid, levator scap and upper trapezius, as well as scalenes.

Spine Muscle Imbalances overview

Low back
Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Forward Chin
Posterior Pelvic Tilt
Head tilt/turn

Low Back Muscle Imbalances overview

Anterior Pelvic Tilt
Posterior Pelvic Tilt
Rectus femoris
Adductor magnus
Quadratus lumborum
Latissimus dorsi
Superficials abdominals
Erector spinae

Low Back Muscle Imbalances


Neck Muscle Imbalances overview

Forward chin
Head tilt/turn
Levator scap
Levator scap
Upper trapezius
Upper trapezius

Neck Muscle Imbalances



To conclude, everyone has very high chances of having muscle imbalances due to the nature of us gravitating towards certain movement patterns. Most of the issues faced by everyone having muscle imbalances would be as mild as the daily minor aches and pains. However, in the event of sever cases, someone can get injured or trapped in a chronic pain vicious cycle.

Specifically for spine imbalances, the proximity between the central nervous system and the spine as well as their connectivity between the lower and upper body makes them more likely to spread. Among the two different regions of spine muscle imbalances, low back and neck, which region do you think you have the most imbalances? Share with me in the comments below!

Pain relief by managing Spine Muscle Imbalances

I do work closely with individuals to relief chronic and recurring pain by managing spine muscle imbalances as part of a holistic pain solution illustrated in my other article "Permanent Relief From Recurring Pain".

Apart from that, I also work on managing muscle imbalances, illustrated in my other article "A Deeper Look Into Muscle Imbalances".

Contact me for more information if you are looking to manage muscle imbalances or holistically overcome ongoing pain!

© 2019 Bing Xi


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)