Follow and Like Us:

Iliocostalis Thoracis Muscle: Back, Chest and Lower Abdominal Pain

Iliocostalis Thoracis Muscle Pain Pattern

The Iliocostalis thoracis can contribute to pain in the lower and upper back, the chest and the mid-abdomen.

  • Pain in the upper back around the shoulder blade concentrated toward the bottom of the shoulder blade
  • Pain in the back running from the top of the shoulder blade down to the upper hip bone. Pain tends to be more concentrated toward the bottom of the ribs.
  • Chest pain
  • Pain in the abdomen area below the ribcage and toward the side

Where is the iliocostalis thoracis muscle?

The iliocostalis thoracis is a muscle found in the back. It attaches to the lower six ribs to upper ribs and extends to the bottom vertebra (C7) in the neck.

What movements does the iliocostalis thoracis muscle control?

  • Straightens (exends) the upper (thoracic) back
  • Bends (lateral flexion) the upper (thoracic) back side to side
  • Twists (rotates) the upper (thoracic) back side to side

Activities that cause iliocostalis thoracis pain and symptoms:

  • Bending and twisting when lifting
  • Straining when trying to lift something too heavy
  • Whiplash of the lower back
  • Extended periods of sitting in a car or plane

Interesting facts about the iliocostalis thoracis:

The Iliocostalis muscles along with the longissimus muscles and the spinalis muscles are the mound of muscles that are felt running down beside the spine.  They serve as a checkrein when you bend over and allow you to straighten back to a standing position.

Clinical diagnoses to which the iliocostalis thoracis muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • Sprain/Strain Syndrome of the thoracic or lumbar spine
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Prolapsed disc
  • Lumbar spine hyperlordosis
  • Thoracic spine hyperkyphosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Stenosis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Rib subluxation (Slipping Rib Syndrome)
  • Cauda equina syndrome
Iliocostalis Thoracis Muscle

You use the iliocostalis muscle whenever you straighten you back, twist your trunk side to side, and side bend.

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the iliocostalis thoracis muscle:

Satellite Trigger Points: Latissimus Dorsi, Quadratus Lumborum, Serratus Posterior Inferior, Serratus Posterior Superior

For detailed anatomy information see: Iliocostalis Thoracis Anatomy

Help with Iliocostalis Thoracis Muscle Pain

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel and I recommend it for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries.  Biofreeze is better than warm therapy gels and creams for recent injury muscle pain as it cools the area much like ice and does not promote swelling.  A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. Biofreeze  is recommended for those who have had a recent neck,  upper back injury or sudden onset pain. Highly recommended for early treatment of whiplash.
Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury

Warm Therapy Gel To Relax Back Muscles and Ease Chronic Pain Due to Old Injury

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and in my massage therapy practice. Unlike other over the counter heating creams, it provides warmth without burning heat.  Applying Sombra to the muscles along the  length of the spine, around the shoulder blade and  across the lower back will help reduce tension and  pain caused by the iliocostalis thoracis muscle.

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.

Hot Cold Pack For Back Pain and Injury

SofTouch Large Hot Cold Pack is a large pack that can be used for hot or cold treatment. The pack is large enough to cover the iliocostalis muscle and wrap down to cover the top of the hips. The inside of the pack contains a clay-like substance that remains soft and pliable so you can mold the pack to your body. The outside of the pack is wrapped with soft suede-like material that does not shock the skin when touched. My clients love this pack and it is now the only hot and cold pack that I use in my massage therapy practice.


Recommended Back Support Low Back Pain - Exceptional Relieve From Low Back Pain

I seldom rave about products, but this is one product it would be hard for me to do without! The name Professionals Choice name is well known in horse industry and is highly regarded for their top quality products that work.

The Pro Choice Low Back Support  is my go to back brace. This brace has helped me more than any other with low back and low abdominal pain. The lumbar pad provides support without the uncomfortable restriction and poking of metal supports. The band is wide, covering the entire lower back.  It has an adjustable Velcro front closure along with adjustable Velcro side panels which can be tightened or loosened to provide support and compression.  The brace also reflects your body heat back into the muscles, providing warmth to tight sore muscles. For those with recent injuries or flare-ups, it is comfortable enough wear all night and will not disrupt your sleep.

The brace is made of closed-cell, limestone-based Neoprene which is extremely durable and resilient. The brace retains its shape over years of use and does not absorb moisture.  It can be machined washed on the gentle cycle.

I have recommended this brace to many clients and friends with chronic low back pain and everyone has commented how much it helps relieve their pain and helps with mobility. As with other back braces, it may not help much with sciatica pain, but it can provide additional support and warmth to low back muscles which may bring some relief. But if you have muscle, tendon or ligament injuries, new or old, I highly recommend that you try this brace!

Sizing: Small and Medium fits waists 22" - 38". Large fits waists 24" - 40". X-large fits waists 41" - 50. XX-large fits waists 51" - 60".


Iliocostalis Thoracis Muscle Lower Rib Cage Pain and Mid Back Pain

The iliocostalis thoracis muscles are a contributor to pain around the lower rib cage and mid back. For this type of pain, I recommend the ITA-MED Rib Support. The ITA_MED rib support is a simple band that can provide support and compression to help relieve pain. It is also great for support for bruised or cracked ribs. For fractured ribs, please consult with your doctor before using any type of brace or support! Belts are made for women and men.

ITA-MED Breathable Elastic Rib Support For Women

ITA-MED Breathable Elastic Rib Support For Men


Self Treatment For Iliocostalis Muscle Pain

Do you know that small "knots" and other dysfunction in the iliocostalis thoracis can cause pain in the chest, back, ribs and abdomen?

If you are interested in releasing these "knots" aka trigger points, I recommend Claire Davies The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. Mr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language. But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain, how to find the trigger point and treat it. It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body. Relieving trigger points in iliocostalis muscle have helped many people resolve upper body pain issues. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.

The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body.

Trigger Point Self Massage Tool

The Theracane Massager is a self-treatment massage tool for use on those hard to reach areas on the neck, shoulders, back, hips and legs. If you are considering buying the book The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook to treat trigger points in the back, you will need to buy the Theracane to use for the treatment methods detailed in the book.


Leave a Comment