The Iliocostalis thoracis is a muscle in the back. Trigger points in the muscle contribute to pain in the hip, the lower and upper back, the chest, and the mid-abdomen.

Contents of Article

    Where is the iliocostalis thoracis muscle?

    Iliocostalis Thoracis Muscle Showing Trigger Point Locations

    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 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 Thoracis Anatomy


    Iliocostalis Thoracis Muscle Trigger Points Symptoms:

    Iliocostalis Thoracis Referred Pain Pattern
    • 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

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    An Excellent Gel For Pain Relief

    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 thoracis 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 Thoracis 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. 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. Treating trigger points has 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.

    If you are not comfortable initiating self-treatment, find a massage therapist, physical therapist, or chiropractor knowledgeable about trigger point therapy. They can teach you about specific trigger points related to your pain.

    Trigger points respond best to several short treatments throughout the day.

    If you use the workbook, you will need a tool to treat the back muscles. One tool that is recommended is a massage ball. You place the ball between your back muscles and a wall. Using your body, you roll the ball up and down to massage the muscle.

    Another tool is the Thera Cane Massager. The massage tool can be used standing or sitting. It allows you to reach and treat hard-to-reach areas of the body easily. The Thera Cane is easy to use for anyone who has balance or mobility problems.

    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. 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 thoracis muscle

    The Iliocostalis muscles, along with the longissimus muscles and the spinalis muscles, are the mound of muscles that run down beside the spine.  They serve as a check-rein 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:

    Satellite trigger points associated with the muscle:

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

    • Latissimus Dorsi
    • Quadratus Lumborum
    • Serratus Posterior Inferior


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    Iliocostalis Lumborum
    Longissimus Thoracis
    Quadratus Lumborum
    Piriformis Muscle