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Iliocostalis Thoracis Muscle: Back, Chest and Lower Abdominal Pain

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

What symptoms and pain are associated with the iliocostalis thoracis?

  • 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 rib cage

Where is the iliocostalis thoracis muscle?

It attaches to the lower six ribs to the lower back via the iliocostalis lumborum. It also attaches the first 6 ribs to the 7th cervical (neck) vertebra.

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


Iliocostalis thoracis Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

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

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

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

Satellite trigger points associated with the iliocostalis thoracis muscle:

  • Latissimus Dorsi
  • Quadratus Lumborum
  • Serratus Posterior Inferior

For detailed anatomy information:  
Iliocostalis Thoracis Anatomy

Help with Iliocostalis Thoracis Muscle Pain

Cold Therapy To Treat Sudden Onset Pain, Back Strain and Back Injury

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.

Hot Cold Pack For Back Pain

CorPak Soft Comfort Hot & Cold Pack Wrap is a versatile pack that can be used to treat many areas of the body. This pack works well for the back as it is large and can cover a large area. The pack is filled with pliable gel and has a soft frost free cover that will not irritate your skin. For recent injuries, use it cold to reduce swelling. For older injures or chronic pain use heat to relax the muscles and increase circulation.

Warm Therapy Gel For Middle and Low Back Pain

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.

Highly Recommended Back Support For Low Back Pain

The Pro-Choice 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.

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 increase mobility. 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 waist 24" - 40". X-large fits waist 41" - 50. XX-large fits waist 51" - 60".

Self Treatment For Iliocostalis Thoracis 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 treating back pain caused by trigger points I recommend you purchase Claire Davies  The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain ReliefMr. 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. If you suffer from unresolved back pain I highly recommend this book. 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 have helped many people resolve their back pain issues. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.

Easily Treat Hard  To Reach Areas Of The Body

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. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook has diagrams showing how to use the Theracane to treat hard to reach areas.


Massage Therapist

Owner: thewellnessdigest.com

Twelve years of experience working with clients with chronic pain, post injury pain, and post surgery pain. Muscle dysfunction is often overlooked but can hold the key to many pain conditions.

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