Iliocostalis cervicis


Our back muscles are critical to our ability to stand, turn, and generally move around. We use them as we carry out mundane household chores, sit at our desks and push our bodies through exercise. But unless we have a specific interest in anatomy, many of us don’t understand how the muscles actually work. This article will give you some insight into the Iliocostalis cervicis and some of the muscles surrounding it.

The Iliocostalis group is one of three overlapping deep muscle sets which make up the erector spinae muscles. These muscle groups run parallel to the spine and are the largest muscular area on the back of the human torso.  The spinalis group is that closest to the middle of the body with the longissimus group at the side. The Iliocostalis group is furthest from the spine or vertebral column.

A look at the muscles in the back.

One muscle, three parts

Each muscle group is made up of three parts. The spinalis group is comprised of the spinalis capitis, spinalis cervicis and spinalis thoracis. The longissimus is made up of the longissimus capitis, longissimus cervicis and longissimus thoracis. Iliocostalis cervisi, thoracis and lumborum comprise the Iliocostalis group.

The Iliocostalis muscles help our bodies to bend backward and sideways. They also help us to rotate our spinal column. 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.

Why back muscle injuries are common

As you probably know, back injuries and back pain are quite common among people of all ages. This is because of the vast range of activities we engage in and also the poor posture we often adopt when carrying them out. Simple tasks like cleaning up our surroundings, lifting heavy objects and working in the garden can lead to tight back muscles if overdone or done with incorrect posture. Even slouching when sitting, sitting in hunched positions or lifting objects without bending your knees can overwork muscles like the Iliocostalis cervicis.

It’s not just physical activity that can cause back problems, though. Mental stress and repressed emotions can also lead to tight back muscles. They trigger a flight or fight response in the muscles and they become overworked. This means they don’t get the oxygen needed to support the spine.

The back muscles work as one unit as we work, play and even sleep. It should, therefore, be noted that injuries often occur in more than one muscle area at the same time.  Pain and discomfort may also be felt in other areas of the body. For example, the Iliocostalis thoracis muscle attaches from the lower six ribs to upper ribs and extends to the bottom vertebra in the neck but it can be one of the causes of chest and lower abdominal pain. It can also be a factor in pain around the shoulder blade and pain running from the shoulder blade to the upper hip bone.

Iliocostalis muscles are used when bending and twisting. Source:

Help is available

If psychological reasons are behind your muscle tightness, seeking help for them should relieve the tension in your back. Doing stretching exercises can also help to reduce stress in the short term. After doing them consistently for a while, the back muscles will also become stronger. This makes it less like that they will become overstretched. You should also do exercises for other areas of the body including the hips and knees. Exercise balls, stability foam and vibration plates can all be incorporated into your routine. Once your particular problem has been diagnosed, a range of professionals is available to help restore proper function to your iliocostalis muscles.