The iliocostalis lumborum is a muscle in the back. Trigger points in the muscle cause pain that centers in the buttock and radiates up into the lower back.

Contents of Article

    Where is the iliocostalis lumborum muscle?

    Iliocostalis Lumborum Muscle Showing Trigger Point Location

    The iliocostalis lumborum is a muscle found in the deep back.  It attaches to the lower six ribs to the lower back via the sacrum and ilium (hip bone).

    What movements does it control?

    • Straightens the back
    • Bends the back side to side
    • Twists the back side to side
    • Shifts the pelvis side to side

    For detailed anatomy information: Iliocostalis Lumborum Anatomy


    Iliocostalis Lumborum Muscle Trigger Points Symptoms:

    Iliocostalis Lumborum Referred Pain Pattern
    • Pain in the low back
    • Pain concentrated in the buttock
    • The low back can become hypersensitive to touch
    • Occasionally pain in the low abdomen

    TWD Recommends

    If you have low back pain or need abdominal support, the Professional’s Choice Back Brace will help reduce your pain and stiffness. The waist wrap and two side straps are easily adjusted and provide support compression to the low back and abdomen. Pro-Choice is the only low back brace TWD recommends because it works!

    Sombra Warm Therapy warms and relaxes muscles without the burning heat of other heating creams/gels. Apply Sombra to the back muscles to help relax the muscles and reduce your pain.

    Activities that cause iliocostalis lumborum muscle pain:

    • 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

    Iliocostalis Lumborum Trigger Point Treatment

    If you are interested in treating back pain caused by trigger points, The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language. The 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 have helped many people resolve their back and hip pain issues.

    If you get the workbook, you will need a tool to help you reach and massage the middle and lower back. The first recommended tool is a massage ball. You place the ball between the back muscles and the wall, using your body to apply pressure, rolling the ball, and massaging the back.

    The other recommended tool is the Thera Cane Massager.  The cane is useful and is used to treat many muscles throughout the body that cannot be reached, like muscles in the back, the glutes, and even the bottom of the feet. The cane can be used standing or sitting and is recommended for people with balance or mobility issues.

    TWD Recommends: Back Strain Injuries

    Note: If you have a back strain injury, it is recommended that you use cold therapy during the acute phase of the injury. Once the swelling and inflammation have reduced, you should alternate cold and warm treatments.

    TWD Recommends

    Cureve Hot Cold Pack can be used for warm and cold treatments. It is recommended that cold packs be applied for 20-minutes after a TrP treatment. Use a warm treatment when the muscle is tight and needs to relax.

    To prolong the effects of the cold pack, use Biofreeze Cooling Gel. after removing the ice pack. Biofreeze works like ice in that it cools the area and may help reduce inflammation. Rub the gel into the back 15-20 minutes after removing the ice pack. It can be applied up to 3 times a day for pain relief. Biofreeze is used and recommended by therapists and doctors for musculoskeletal injuries and pain.

    Interesting facts about the ilocostalis lumborum muscle

    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 lumborum muscle symptoms may contribute:

    • Lumbar Spine Hyperlordosis
    • Scoliosis
    • Intervertebral or Vertebral stenosis
    • Herniated Disc
    • Bulging Disc
    • Prolasped Disc
    • Ankylosing spondylitis
    • Whiplash
    • Hip pointer
    • Cauda equina syndrome
    • Sacral nerve compression
    • Spinal nerve compression
    • Pelvic inflammatory disease


    Other muscles that should be considered and examined:

    Satellite trigger points associated with the muscle:

    If you find trigger points in the ilocostalis lumborum you will want to check these muscles for additional trigger points.

    • Latissimus Dorsi
    • Quadratus Lumborum
    • Serratus Posterior Inferior

    TWD Recommends

    A lumpy or too soft mattress wreaks havoc on the body. It can cause pain throughout the body and is especially hard on the lower back.
    The Casper Sleep Essential is firm but has enough softness to provide support. It is recommended to those who like a firm but not a hard mattress.
    The Snuggle-Pedic Mattress is not as firm as the Casper but provides needed support. It is recommended for those who need support but prefers a softer feel.

    Muscles With Similar Pain Patterns

    Iliocostalis Thoracis
    Longissimus Thoracis
    Quadratus Lumborum
    Piriformis Muscle