Iliocostalis Pain Treatment


The iliocostalis is a group of muscles in the back which aid in bending backward and sideways and rotating the spinal column. The group is made up of three parts. The lower part, the iliocostalis lumborum, extends from the upper part of the hipbone to the lower ribs. The middle part, the iliocostalis dorsi or thoracis, goes from the lower to the upper ribs while the upper part, the iliocostalis cervicis, extends from the upper ribs to the neck. A number of injuries can occur in these muscles given their frequent usage and as a result, there are a number of iliocostal pain treatment options.

A look at the muscles in the back.

Iliocostalis syndrome

One possible condition is Iliocostalis Syndrome. This is caused by the friction of the lower ribs against the iliac crest, the curved ridge at the top of the pelvic bone. The friction leads to irritation of soft tissues and the condition is usually characterized by otherwise undiagnosed chronic side pain.

Iliocostalis syndrome often occurs in people living with osteoporosis. In people without osteoporosis, the ribs and pelvic bone are usually too far apart to cause problems. However, e the ribs tend to move closer to the pelvis in people with iliocostalis syndrome. This means the tendons and muscles in the area get damaged, especially when individuals bend to the side.


Iliocostalis thoracis muscle pain

Iliocostalis muscles are used when bending and twisting. Source:

The iliocostalis thoracis muscle attaches from the lower six ribs to upper ribs and extends to the bottom vertebra in the neck. It can be one of the causes of back, chest and lower abdominal pain. In addition, it can be a factor in pain around the shoulder blade and pain running from the shoulder blade to the upper hip bone.

The discomfort tends to be concentrated around the bottom of the shoulder blade and the bottom of the ribs. Pain in the abdomen caused by iliocostalis thoracis dysfunction is usually in the area below the ribcage and toward the side. People with the condition often experience pain when bending and twisting, trying to lift heavy objects and sitting for extended periods in cars or planes.

Iliocostalis lumborum muscle pain

The iliocostalis lumborum is a muscle which attaches from the lower six ribs to the lower back via the sacrum and hip bone. It is associated with pain in the lower back, buttocks and occasionally, the lower abdomen. Symptoms of iliocostalis lumborum dysfunction tend to present during the same activities as those connected with the iliocostalis thoracis. These are whiplash involving the lower back, sitting for long periods in a vehicle, straining while lifting heavy objects as well as bending and twisting.

Where pain is likely to occur when caused by the iliocostalis lumborum.

Treatments for iliocostalis pain

Iliocostalis syndrome is usually treated with ice, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and steroid injection if the irritation continues. Massage and exercise may also be recommended along with cortisone shots. It should be noted that while cortisone and anti-inflammatory drugs produce short-term benefits, they can also lead to more chronic pain since the interrupt the natural healing process. Long term use also leads to varying side effects.

An alternative to these treatments is prolotherapy, also known as Non-Surgical Ligament and Tendon Reconstruction and Regenerative Joint Injection. This is an orthopedic procedure that stimulates the body’s healing processes to strengthen and repair injured and painful joints and connective tissue. This is said to be very helpful in eliminating chronic side pain, although patients should still avoid side-bending.

Common iliocostalis pain treatments for muscle pain include hot and cold pain-relieving gels, hot or cold packs, back braces and massage.

We all want to be able to bend, twist and lift objects without pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, dysfunction in the iliocostalis muscles can make this difficult. See your doctor for a diagnosis and proper iliocostalis pain treatment.